Fairytale magic, 12 princesses, a grieving father, a mystery to solve. Jessie Burton has written a intriguing story called The Restless Girls that is sure to delight your upper elementary aged children.
From the cover:
A girl-forward fairy tale retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” about sisterhood, imagination, and bravery, lushly packaged and with beautiful full-color illustrations.
For the twelve daughters of King Alberto, Queen Laurelia’s death is a disaster beyond losing a mother. The king decides his daughters must be kept safe at all costs, and for the girls, those costs include their lessons, their possessions, and most importantly, their freedom.
But the sisters, especially the eldest, Princess Frida, will not bend to this fate. She still has one possession her father cannot take: the power of her imagination. And so, with little but wits and ingenuity to rely on, Frida and her sisters begin their fight to be allowed to live on their own terms.
What you Get:
Twelve happy girls, until their mother died. And then their father, the king, in his grief locked them away. Keeping them safe was his decree. But then…. imagination took place and a most fantastical story took place. Fairy tale magic comes to life. A riddle, a place of magic, and a problem to solve. Will 12 princesses figure it all out? Of course they do! BUT you’ll have to read it yourself.
I noted small inconsistencies in the storyline, but for the most part, it’s a story that will entertain your upper elementary children quite nicely… particularly if they like princesses who are smart!
Lovely illustrations by Angela Barrett dot the pages. I received an advanced reader copy which didn’t have all the illustrations in them. I deliberately didn’t look at the pictures until I finished the story. It’s always interesting to see how different I imagined the girls looking, and how the illustrator saw them.
The font is on the larger side, making it very easy to hold up and read to a group of children.
It’s a cute book, it really is. The girls are having a hard time when their dad goes into overdrive after the death of his beloved wife. There needs to be a solution, but the girls don’t know what it is. They try all the things that worked when they were littles but discovered that didn’t work. What could they do? Everything they tried just made things worse! Enter in a mystery… the fairytale part. Watch as the girls start to put new tools to work. They discover new ways to approach this problem and … (you’ll have to read it to discover what they learned).
Admittedly, as a fairy tale, it’s easy enough to figure out what will probably happen. If you just want a good story with a great ending, The Restless Girls will do the trick…just don’t read the last couple of pages first! 🙂
The Restless Girls
Illustrator: Angela Barrett
160 pages, 8-12 years,
Trade paperback, chapter book
Friendship, Character, Coming of Age
Reviewed for Raincoast Books.