The Christmas Princess

Holt. Nov. 2022. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250837110.
K-Gr 3–Little Mariah lives with her operatic mother, who prefers singing to speaking, and a talking parrot in a “saggy, wobbly, bubbly brick little shack” that is at the end of a narrow rocky road. One Christmas while Little Mariah’s mother is away, two unkind golden-haired children of wealthy neighbors come to call. The children often secretly torment Little Mariah about her unruly hair and her mismatched “tacky tatters.” During this visit, they let loose a magic comb to ruin Little Mariah’s Christmas tree. When she runs into the nearby woods to escape, Little Mariah encounters the Shamey Shame Boys. Terrified, Mariah holds a heart-shaped stone she found along the way against her chest. The stone brings out of a magical book the Butterfly Fairy Queen, who crowns Little Mariah as the Christmas Princess. This rhyming picture book opens with a letter from the adult Mariah Carey to Little Mariah. In it, she writes to her young self: “I know a lot of people put you down because of your clothes, your house, and your hair, and try to make you feel ‘other’—that they are better than you are.” But success is the best revenge, and the grown Mariah is a well-known singer-songwriter, perhaps most notably for an upbeat Christmas song. Unfortunately, this story is overly long and disjointed and ends abruptly, which prevents it from being appealing or affirming for readers.
VERDICT Not recommended for purchase.

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