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*Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated)* by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Lane Smith
Also by Florence Parry Heide:

Some Things Are Scary

The One and Only Marigold

Also written and/or illustrated by Lane Smith:

Madam President

The Big Elephant in the Room

Big Plans

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs
Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated)
by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Lane Smith
Ages 4-7 48 pages Schwartz & Wade September 2009 Hardcover    

Obstacles like gravity and castle walls can’t stand in the way of the friendship in this book. It does involve a tangle or two, but nothing that can’t be celebrated over popcorn and tea at the end of the day.

If Princess Hyacinth wants to walk around the palace, she has to wear her specially designed “royal stuff.” Without it, she’ll float up and up and up. This is permitted inside the palace because the roof will stop her ascent, but the king and queen refuse to let their daughter float outside, fearing she will “just float away altogether.”

She does have some company, but it’s not enough to make her happy. Propelled by boredom and the desire to play outside like the other children, Princess Hyacinth puts on her weighted-down clothes and heads to the park. The sight of balloons floating high in the air, though, makes the princess think of something else she’d like to do instead.

Removing all her clothing except for her royal underwear, Princess Hyacinth soon floats higher than the balloons - out of reach from everyone except a young kite-flyer named Boy who, up until this moment, has only been able to say hello to Princess Hyacinth while standing below her window.

The grandeur of the palace is reflected in the enormous rooms and the oversized furniture and dishware. The only thing not huge in the palace are the inhabitants, who are drawn with small bodies and legs. The cracked motif that appears on the walls and floors of the palace adds a timeless feel to the story, as do the fairytale-like vines that grown outside the windows.

Children will enjoy seeing the animal-shaped trees and bushes on the palace grounds and the two metal faces that make up part of a knight’s body armor. Turning the pages of this book, they will see how the floating theme from the story is incorporated into the print. The word ‘up’ floats upwards on several pages, and the top of the sentence “Princess Hyacinth floated” is missing; it, too, is drifting off the page. Different colored text, italicized words, narrator interjections, and the mention of royal underwear add interest and humor to the story as well.

Born in 1919, award-winning author Florence Parry Heide has a B.A. in English and experience working in public relations and advertising. She is the author of the Treehorn books and several other books for children. She lives in Wisconsin.

Award-winning illustrator Lane Smith graduated from college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He has collaborated with author Jon Scieszka on several picture books, including The Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Smith has written and illustrated books including The Happy Hockey Family and John, Paul, George and Ben. He lives in Connecticut.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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