Princess Pink isn’t a princess, nor is she a fan of the color pink. In defiance of her frothy moniker, Princess prefers “dirty sneakers, giant bugs, mud puddles, and cheesy pizza” over fairies, ballerinas, and the princess dresses her mother attempts to foist upon her. Unsurprisingly, the magical world Princess stumbles upon through her refrigerator door one night isn’t a Narnia, an Oz, or even a sideways Wonderland. Instead, the Land of Fake-Believe is a shared fairy-tale universe gone amok, with an oddball cast of subverted characters such as the green-haired Moldylocks (of Three Beards fame—”much scarier than bears”), The Three Pugs, a kleptomaniac fowl named Little Red Quacking Hood, and, perhaps oddest of all, the Tunacorn, a kind of unicorn with a tuna fish for a horn.
In his series of graphic novel–style chapter-books for fledgling readers, author and illustrator Noah Z. Jones fractures well-trafficked tropes and recasts them into a narrative that marries humor and visual slapstick with unexpected pathos.
In Book 1, Moldylocks and the Three Beards, Princess’s burgeoning friendship with Moldylocks, who “looked like she had slept in a swamp for weeks,” is threatened when a chili raid on the Three Beards’ home goes awry.
Noah Z. Jones fractures well-trafficked tropes and recasts them into a narrative that marries humor with unexpected pathos.
With the help of Tunacorn, Princess manages to escape, returning to her kitchen through a portal in the clouds. When she realizes Moldylocks is still in the Beards’ dastardly clutches, she has to make a decision: remain safely ensconced at home or risk limb and potential life to save her friend?
The hostage extraction that follows is a romp of comedic proportions, but it also offers a subtle reminder that girls, like boys, are pilots of their own destiny.
Even if everyone insists on calling them Princess.