Monday, December 7, 2015

The Perilous Princess Plot (Buckle and Squash #1) by Sarah Courtauld

If you want to study the literary device of using parody to exaggerate the fairy tale genre for comedic effect, then I suggest picking up this book. Or if you just want to snort laugh your breakfast cereal out your nose, then I suggest this book again. Eliza and Lavendar live in Old Tumbledown Farm in The Middle of Nowhere in the land of Squerb, where Lavendar dreams of being a princess and Eliza dreams of strangling her neck. Just kidding. Eliza is stuck with all the chores and is just annoyed by her princess-loving sis. But honestly, first time we meet Lavendar she sees a man in the distance and cries out, "A knight upon the high road! I may faint!" It's a bald man named Bob. Lavendar then proceeds to faint and asks Eliza to rate her faint. This drama queen makes Anne of Green Gables romantic tendencies look tame in comparison. When Lavendar gets kidnapped by an archetype villain, it is Eliza who rescues her showing that Eliza will do anything for her cornflakey sister.

Eliza is a foil to Lavendar. While Lavendar wants to be more princessy than a princess, Eliza dreams of being a hero, defeating dragons and traveling to far off places. The cornucopia of  puns and play on words, and run-on sentences reminded me of the character voices in "The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom," by Christopher Healy. The villain sets out to kidnap a princess identifying her as a girl that sings badly, dances, pick flowers, and wears a pointy princess hat - all traits found in Lavendar. Except she also sings in the romance language, French. Badly. When Lavendar is kidnapped she gets it in her head that the villain is really a handsome prince disguised as an ugly person like in Beauty and the Beast. 

There are some fun twists and turns in this goofy tale. Eliza tries to change Lavendar into seeing how absurd all her prince dreams are while Lavendar tries to prove that they are true. By the end the two have adventures that have them understanding and tolerating each other a little more, but it isn't always easy. It is always funny though. This story is pretty outlandish. My favorite minor character is the grandma that tells bedtimes stories full of pestilence, murder, and death. She reminded me of Jon Klassen's picture books. 

Her story is about William who came down with the Black Death. "'And from that day on, he was covered in spots,' she said serenely. 'And then came the lumps. And then his skin started to wither. And then he collapsed. And then his fingers fell off. And then his legs fell off. And then he died.' she smiled. 'The end. Would you like another story?'"

Yes, please. I'm looking forward to more Squash and Buckles.

4 Smileys

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