Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Hoo boy. My bookclub is meeting in two hours. I have read less than a third of The Constant Gardener. Oops. How about a nice picture book to distract me!

I have always been a big fan of books that empower girls. And by that I mean books with female characters that are cool, and require no permission from male characters to go do stuff. In that vein comes Shelley Fowles' Climbing Rosa.

Rosa is big on climbing, a skill she honed because her nasty stepmother and sisters make her sleep on the roof. It’s a handy talent, considering in the middle of her kingdom is an enormous tree, the top of which no one has ever seen. Also in this kingdom is a prince, who spends all his time reading books, rather than looking for princesses to marry. His father comes up with the solution of holding a competition. Whichever girl can get to the top of the tree and bring down a seedpod will marry the prince!

Obviously Rosa decides to enter the contest, thinking that the tree trunk will be "a doodle compared to the drainpipe at home." However, her stepsister follows her, hoping to get the seedpod first. Rosa manages to make it down with the seedpod, though, and she and the prince live happily ever after, while the stepsister remains at the top of the tree forever more.

Fowles' illustrations complement the text wonderfully. The kingdom looks kind of like a medieval eastern Europe, with gorgeous patterns on every surface, including the tree trunk. A wonderful retelling of a Hungarian folk tale.

Climbing Rosa written and illustrated by Shelley Fowles
ISBN 1845070798
32 pages


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