Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dangerously Ever After…

Let’s just get a couple things taken care of right away…no, I did not write this book. And yes, I wish I had! While I don’t have daughters of my own (or sons either, if you were wondering) I do have two adorable nieces, and one precocious little neighbor, so I know the whole “princess thing” has gone completely and totally out of control insane (thanks Disney). It seems every little girl these days dreams of being a princess of some sort; it’s a little bit unnerving if you ask me. But finally, there is a princess even I can believe in and her name is Amanita…

“Princess Amanita loved things that were dangerous. She loved her pet scorpion, and her brakeless bicycle, and her collection of daggers and broken glass…But most of all she loved her garden, which was said to be the most dangerous in the world”...so begins Dangerously Ever After by Dashka Slater, illustrated by Valeria Docampo, and yes I was squealing with joy as I read.

While I wanted to ask for a several images so you could see Princess Amanita watering her garden, complete with specimen cactus and lovely thistles, I also didn't want to give too much of the fun away that's involved in turning every page. I'll just say this is a little lady that knows what the most important feature on a rose is, and displays them accordingly … thorn side up!
As with all good books there's another tale woven into the story and this one involves the princess expanding her world and way of thinking. If you've got a little princess on your holiday gift list I highly recommend this book. Not only will she be exposed to the joy of gardening but dangerous gardening (sounds like an excuse to package a small cactus with the book!). And while I may have unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally) made things a little “darker” if I were the author or illustrator (a little Edward Gorey comes to mind), the story stays on the fun side of danger and thus should appeal to a wide range of princess attitudes.

Finally in case you’re wondering about the name Amanita… “The genus Amanita contains about 600 species of agarics including some of the most toxic known mushrooms found worldwide, as well as some well regarded edible species. This genus is responsible for approximately 95% of the fatalities resulting from mushroom poisoning, with the death cap accounting for about 50% on its own. The most potent toxin present in these mushrooms is α-amanitin.” (source)...brilliant!

(the disclaimer: I was sent a complimentary review copy of this book with no pressure to write about it…but since I LOVED everything about it why wouldn't I?)

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