Fiction: Ruth Sanderson

The Twelve Dancing Princesses


Ruth Sanderson
1990

This is a beautiful picture book. It's a lovely retelling of the story, although there are some loose ends that never quite get explained. The kids I read it to wondered about some of them. Nevertheless, it is a retelling of my favourite version of the story, so I like it a lot. And like most of Sanderson's fairy tales it is written very clearly and smoothly. She uses fairy tale language and is careful to keep in the important pieces of information and the important storytelling techniques. I really like her telling.

The other major part of the book is, of course, the pictures. They are classic Sanderson and, thus, beautiful. The detail is amazing. My favourite thing is that each princess has two different outfits in the book and none of the outfits are the same (usually this story shows twelve girls in identical dresses of different colours). The girls look different too, which is nice. The dresses and hairstyles are very fairy tale-like and elegant. The backgrounds, particularly in the fantasy world the princesses visit, are amazing. I love the detail on the trees and leaves. Each page is beautiful.

I definitely recommend this picture book version of the story. It�s well told and beautifully illustrated.