Synopses & Reviews
Princess Patricia Priscilla is bored with her royal life and the excitement surrounding her sixteenth birthday ball. Doomed to endure courtship by three grotesquely unappealing noblemen, she escapes her fateand#151;for a week. Disguised as a peasant, she attends the village school as the smart new girl, and#147;Pat,and#8221; and attracts friends and the attention of the handsome schoolmaster. Disgusting suitors, lovable peasants, and the clueless king and queen collide at the ball, where Princess Patricia Priscilla calls the shots. What began as a cure for boredom becomes a chance for Princess Patricia Priscilla to break the rules and marry the man she loves.
"Lowry uses her knack for cleverly turning familiar stories on their heads (last seen in The Willoughbys) in this tale about a princess who's utterly bored with privileged palace life. With her 16th birthday and her mandatory choice of a husband fast approaching (at least she gets a choice, unlike most fairy tale princesses in her situation), Princess Patricia Priscilla hatches a plan to pose as a student at the village schoolhouse for a taste of freedom before her big day, when she will be expected to choose a suitor. Readers will quickly see why the top contenders Prince Percival of Pustula, Duke Desmond of Dyspepsia, and the conjoined Counts of Coagulatia are still 'eligible' bachelors and will have no trouble guessing her best match. Throughout, Feiffer's wiry ink illustrations paint the characters in offhand caricatures, adding to the merriment. Employing elements from the 'Prince and the Pauper' as well as ample doses of humor and slapstick, Lowry sets the stage for a rowdy denouement. The emphasis never strays from the predictable or silly, but fans won't mind. Ages 8 12." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Lowry, who has often turned to new genres and made them her own, now freely adopts certain conventions of the romantic fairy tale to create a fresh story buoyed by wry wit and occasional schoolyard humor. The many idiosyncratic characters are drawn with swift, sure strokes in both the writing and in Feiffer's inimitable ink drawings, notable for their economy and assurance of line as well as their pitch-perfect expression of personality, attitude, and emotion. An original fairy tale with a decidedly comical twist."and#160; and#8212;Booklist
, starred review
"Lowry uses her knack for cleverly turning familiar stories on their heads (last seen in The Willoughbys) in this tale about a princess who's utterly bored with privileged palace life...Throughout, Feiffer's wiry ink illustrations paint the characters in offhand caricatures, adding to the merriment. Employing elements from the "Prince and the Pauper" as well as ample doses of humor and slapstick, Lowry sets the stage for a rowdy denouement."and#160; and#8212;Publishers Weekly
"This is a captivating but gentle fairy tale with memorable characters and wonderfully swirly, evocative, energetic character sketches by the fabulous Feiffer."and#160; and#8212;School Library Journal
"In her clever fairy-tale reconstruction, Lowry transforms the traditional princess into a refreshingly egalitarian heroine with a mind of her own. The hilarious, original and truly loathsome suitors are aptly memorialized in Feifferand#8217;s spritely black-and-white caricature illustrations. Guaranteed to generate giggles and guffaws."and#160; and#8212;Kirkusand#160;Reviews
"A lighthearted concoction overflowing with wordplay and alliteration. . . . [Readers] will laugh themselves silly."and#160; and#8212;New York Times Book Review
"Lowry draws on wicked humor, sly wordplay and stock characters to propel this pleasantly predictable romp . . .[she] again proves her range."and#160; and#8212;San Francisco Chronicle
"Newbery Medalist Lois Lowry and acclaimed illustrator Jules Feiffer throw one not-to-be-missed party with The Birthday Ball."and#160; and#8212;Family Fun Magazine
"Feiffer's frenetic lines and distinctive caricatures maintain the offbeat tone while adding a charming quirkiness in their own right. Youngsters who like thier fair share of mischief will get a kick out of this fractured fairy tale either on their own or as a readaloud."and#160; and#8212;The Bulletin
"Happiness radiates out from the Birthday Ball, zings down to the village and up again. A great story when read aloud."and#160; and#8212;Chicago Tribune
A wry, dry, laugh-out-loud princess tale by the hilarious Lois Lowry, with illustrations by Pulitzer Prizeand#8211;winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer. Princess Patricia Priscilla is bored with her royal life and the excitement surrounding her sixteenth birthday ball. Doomed to endure courtship by three grotesquely unappealing noblemen, she adopts a peasant disguise and escapes her fateand#8212;for a week. In this tale of mistaken identity, creamed pigeons, and young love, the two-time Newbery medalist Lois Lowry compares princesses to peasants and finds them to be exactly the same in all the important ways.
About the Author
Jules Feiffer's artistic sensibility permeates a wide range of creative work, from his Pulitzer-winning comic strip in the Village Voice, to his Obie Award-winning play Little Murders, to his Oscar-winning anti-military short subject animation, Munro, to his beloved illustrations for The Phantom Tollbooth. Feiffer's cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Playboy, and The Nation, and he was commissioned by The New York Times to create its first op-ed page comic strip which ran monthly until 2000, when Feiffer decided to start off the new millennium by giving up cartooning. Taking inspiration from his three daughters spanning three generations, he has reinvented himself as a children's book author. His first book, The Man in the Ceiling, was selected by Publisher's Weekly and the New York Public Library as one of the year's best children's books.
A former instructor at the Yale School of Drama and Northwestern University, Feiffer is now an adjunct professor at Southampton College, a member of the Dramatists Guild Council and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This is his first book with Houghton Mifflin.