The Birthday Ball. Lois Lowry. With illustrations by Jules Feiffer. 2010. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 186 pages.
When Princess Patricia Priscilla woke on the morning of the day that was five days before her birthday, her first thoughts were not Oh, I am almost another year older, hardly a child anymore! or I wonder what fabulous gifts will be presented to me at the Birthday Ball six nights from now!
No. Her thoughts were Bored, bored, bored.
Princess Patricia Priscilla was bored, bored, bored until a conversation with the seventeenth chambermaid, Tess, inspires the Princess to make a change...for the better. She decides to become a peasant and attend the village school. As "Pat" she finds life worth living. The fact that the school teacher is young, handsome guy, well, that helps a little. She enjoys spending time with these "peasant" children so much, she decides they must attend her birthday ball. She plans on gifting each one. Her special friends get extra special presents.
When the Princess turns sixteen, she is supposed to choose a husband from among her suitors. Three--or four--suitors are coming just to meet the Princess. Each hopes to woo her at the Birthday Ball. There is Duke Desmond from Dyspepsia, Prince Percival of Pustula, and then there are the conjoined Counts--Cuthbert and Colin--from Coagulatia. Each suitor is inappropriate, at least inappropriate for the princess. But choose she must...
If only she didn't have to marry nobility...
I liked this one. I'm not sure I loved it. But it has a certain charm to it. It's meant to be a funny book. (My favorite scene? The procession of Duke Desmond who has an entourage of 'splashers' to disturb the lake's surface so that his reflection can't be seen as he passes.) It has a certain exaggerated style to it, much like The Willoughbys, I think. At the right time, for the right reader, I think this one would work well.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews