Book Review: Princess Lila builds a Tower

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Princess Lila builds a tower

Written by Anne Paradis

Illustrated by Karina Dupuis

32 pages

Published by CrackBoom! Books

Publication date: 16th May 2017

Age range: 4 +

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Summary (from Goodreads):

Princess Lila lives in a beautiful castle and has everything she could ever desire—well, almost. She yearns to venture beyond the forest, explore her country and meet people her own age. But the forest is off limits. Resourceful and ingenious, Princess Lila sets to work building a tower to catch a glimpse of the forbidden land. Thus begins a thrilling adventure: she becomes the manager of a vast construction project involving an impressive number of materials, obstacles and solutions. At last, with the help of the castle’s staff, she constructs a tower that extends above the trees. After the plucky princess takes matter into her own hands, will she find what she was looking for?

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I love fairytales and am always on the look-out for retellings, splintered fairy tales or fairy tales where gender roles or stereotypes are challenged or subverted. In this story, a princess decides to take her destiny into her own hands – she may have long, blonde hair, just like the stereotype, but she is not going to wait for a prince to save her. In fact, she is going to use all the resources she has – books and people! – to solve the problem of her isolation.

Just look at the fact that she’s holding a hammer on the cover – Lila is a determined princess who isn’t afraid to muck in alongside her team to achieve her goal.

I liked the messages in this book that we cannot exist in isolation and that problems can be solved as long as we put our heads together, consult some books and try, try, try again.

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What I liked: Princess who takes control of her own destiny – no sitting around waiting for a prince, education being seen as the way to solve problems and books as repositories of knowledge, Lila studying engineering and architecture, using them to achieve her aim. I liked her perseverance when things went wrong.

Even better if: It is fine as it is but I had questions – why can’t she leave the Castle grounds? Why are there no other children around? What happens next? (I couldn’t see Lila being satisfied with just a tower anymore!)

How you could use it in your classroom: Could discuss stereotypes of princesses and towers – perhaps compare to Rapunzel. Could also look at image of princesses – do they all have blue eyes and long, blonde hair? Why? Could write predictions or sequels – what will happen next?

(Thank you to Netgalley and CrackBoom! Books for my review copy)

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