cover image Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover

Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover

Josh Schneider. Clarion, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-14228-2

Schneider (Bedtime Monsters) continues to show a remarkable talent for bringing uncommon humor and psychological depth to ordinary situations. In this case, the treasured doll of the title meets with an “accident” at the hands (or rather jaws) of the family dog. Princess Sparkle-Heart belongs to Amelia, a girl with a shock of red hair and a fondness for staging elaborate tea parties and “royal weddings” (Princess Sparkle-Heart marries a stuffed penguin early on). But amid all this playtime merriment, doom closes in with a low and steady “GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.” Schneider doesn’t hold back one iota in the climactic scene when Princess Sparkle-Heart is shaken to bits by the dog, disintegrating in a fountain of stuffing and pink scraps (her penguin spouse looks away in horror). Amelia is devastated, but her mother sweeps in to give the doll the Six Million Dollar Man treatment, resulting in Princess Sparkle-Heart 2.0, which is built as much for vengeance as for cuddles. With deadpan writing and subtle details that let each spread tell a story of its own, Schneider delivers another winner. Ages 4–8. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Apr.)