Christmas Peas and Princesses: A Story of Love and Dreams
by Terry Boucher
PageTurner Press and Media

"'Don’t be silly,' said Kevin. 'Christmas is a time for caring and sharing.'"

"Once upon a time, but not too, too long ago, there lived a fine young gentleman named Kevin." So begins an adorable tale in which the prince is torn between his affection for Dorothy (the daughter of Mayor Cane) and Taryn, who very much shares his interests, such as the burning desire to read books and learn about the world outside the kingdom. King Matthew only wants what is best for his beloved son. Though not evil, Queen Victoria is determined to discover royal suitability for her son's hand in marriage. Placing a tiny pea underneath three mattresses when each beautiful and kind young lady is "tested" for her meek sensibilities will perhaps determine such suitability. What unfolds in this short but beautifully illustrated tale just might surprise the reader.

Life lessons are imparted from these pages. For example, what makes a "princess" is one who is kind and gentle and holds genuine affection for her future husband. Although a prince and thus surrounded by every comfort and amenity one could imagine, Kevin is just as down to earth as can be. He genuinely seeks to help the less fortunate, such as when Taryn's carriage gets stuck in a snowstorm, and she—a commoner—is invited into the castle to rest and get a sound sleep. Boucher's picture book can be viewed as a re-telling of two classic fairy tales: Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea" and (to a lesser degree) "Cinderella." Here, the author has placed the setting during Christmastime, and snow abounds outside the kingdom. This would be a great book to snuggle up to with children or grandchildren and read aloud. Boucher's work invokes not only feelings of warmth and safety but also imparts invaluable character traits.

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