Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Song of Delphine by Kenneth Kraegel

This is an odd, sweet story but it definitely grows on you.

Delphine is a servant in the palace and an orphan. She lifts her spirits by singing but is excited when the Princess Beatrice arrives, thinking she will finally have a friend her age. Unfortunately, Beatrice turns out to be a cruel, selfish girl and makes Delphine's life even more miserable. But Delphine still has her music and her voice carries her into a magical adventure one night. When dawn arrives the next day, things seem to be worse than ever but Delphine's music eventually brings her a happy ending.

I love the beautifully textured and detailed illustrations. There are plenty of serious moments in the art, but also comical faces and light-hearted humor. I especially loved the giraffes. There is a softness and warmth to the pictures, shown in Delphine's blurred hair and the simple but effective scenes that combine the delicate textures and details of the art created by dots with the gentle colors and swatches of earth-hued colors.

The story is pure wish-fulfillment and admittedly borders on saccharine. Delphine goes from rags to riches with no thought for what poor servant will take her place or for the realities of her situation (poor servant girls don't generally get out of dungeons). The text is lengthy and rather cloying in places. However, the art is so delightful and the story just the kind of soothing, happy ending that children will love to listen to over and over again before bed.

Verdict: This is different, but a delightful addition to any collection. Hand it to fans of princesses, giraffes, and read it aloud for older kids in storytimes about music.

ISBN: 9780763670016; Published 2015 by Candlewick; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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