Author: Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton
Illustrator: Christine Davenier
Publisher: New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2013
Genre: Picture book, fiction
Audience Age: 4 to 8
Themes/topics: dealing with disappointment, finding creative solutions to problems
Opening Sentences: [This is actually an excerpt from the second page of text.] … we’re having a Winter Wonderland Festival at our school! There will be ice sculptures, arts and crafts, a bake sale, and sleigh rides. Best of all, there’s going to be a concert—and I get to sing with the chorus! (Fairy princesses are at their SPARKLIEST when expressing themselves in song.)
Synopsis: Have you ever wanted something, like a part in a play, or a special solo, but someone else got to do it instead? I have. When I was in sixth grade, our class and the seventh graders did an operetta (like a small musical). I really wanted the lead girl’s part.
I practiced and practiced… but someone else got the part. I can understand now why the other girl got the part, but I can also remember how it felt when I didn’t. So I know how the main character felt in the book I’m going to share with you today.
Gerry, the main character, believes very strongly that she is a fairy princess. A VERY fairy princess. And fairy princesses like to let their sparkliness shine through in whatever they do. In this book, Gerry wants to show her singing sparkle — she wants to sing the solo part in the Winter Wonderland Festival. In fact, she is sure the teacher will choose her.
To make sure he realizes what a wonderful singer she is, she sings at every opportunity when he’s near enough to hear her. BUT he announces that a professional singer is going to come and sing the solo.
Gerry is a very disappointed fairy princess. The night of the concert, however, there’s a big snowstorm. The professional singer is stuck in the snow. And Gerry has forgotten her sparkly shoes – all she has to wear on stage are her snowboots.
Are very fairy princesses resourceful enough to come up with solutions for both those problems? I’m not going to give away the ending, so be sure to find the book in your local bookstore or library and see what happens!
Activities/Resources: How about having your own Winter Wonderland Festival? You don’t need to hire a professional singer, but a group of friends, or a family, or even a school class, could have a festival either just for themselves, or with plans to invite others.
You can have wintry crafts, songs, even make up a skit or play, or act out the book. Here are some winter crafts to get you started:
A website called Danielle’s Place has TONS of snowman and snowflake crafts.
Here are instructions for cutting snowflakes out of paper, the same way as I did when I was a kid. This website is called High Hopes.
If you’ve ever wanted to try origami, the Japanese art of folding paper, here are instructions for lots of different origami stars (appropriate for The Starborn Revue!). Sorry about all the ads on the page. The site is called Origami Instructions.
I bet you already know some winter songs, or Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa songs. Maybe everyone can have a turn singing a verse.
The most important thing is to HAVE FUN!
Availability: This book is readily available in hardcover.