Images and text by Carter.
This gem by Florence Parry Heide and Lane Smith introduces us to Princess Hyacinth. She isn’t your ordinary little girl. And it isn’t just because she’s a princess. Her problem? Floating. Without golden weights sewn in the hems of her gowns, Princess Hyacinth would bob, drift, and hover — stopped only by her Royal Ceiling. The kingdom’s heaviest jewels sit right in her crown, and she fastens a rhinestone strap under her chin to keep everything in place.
Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated) is tender and sweet, but thankfully not your average princess story. Turns out the extraordinary part of being a princess isn’t actually that desirable. All she wants is to run around outside and not slowly drag her socks-filled-with-pebbles-feet behind her. She gets her wish when a hapless balloon man gets distracted by a barking dog, and Princess Hyacinth floats a little bit higher than up, up, up! Oops. Good thing a kite-wielding Boy reels her in and rescues her. And good thing this hero wants popcorn and tea more than riches and rewards.
The typography on the pages does some really playful things, too — I love when the words are part of the story! Sometimes they run along the very tippy top of the page, floating just like Princess Hyacinth. It’s subtle, but clever, and so very satisfying. This is a perfect pick for zesty girls and boys who don’t have time for boredom.
P.S. – Do you remember Gabrielle’s interview with Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith? They are my favorite duo! Lane also won a Caldecott Honor in 2012 for a gorgeous garden-inspired book called Grandpa Green, and some of those same topiary creatures are featured on the Palace Grounds in Princess Hyacinth. Don’t you love tiny easter eggs like that?