Title: The Fix-it Princess
Author: Janeen Brian
Illustrator: Cherie Dignam
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication date: March 7, 2023
Additional notable information: Teachers’ notes can be downloaded from Walker Books here.
This review is part of a Books on Tour campaign
From the Castle-by-the-Woods the indomitable, inventive, resourceful Princess Shona, together with a singing, empathetic dragon embark on a quest to find Princess Shona’s parents. She last saw her parents beaming, as they were enjoying their birthday present from their beloved daughter, a one of a kind creation she made and gifted them, a Wing-Thing. They were flying and then suddenly they were swallowed up by a big white cloud. Never one to give up and ever the optimist, can at times, see Princess Shona, who is dubbed the Fix-it-Princess, succumb to calamities and this birthday gift proves to be no exception. Together this duo spurs each other on and makes a formidable team, displaying the qualities of a healthy friendship. They show respect for each other’s boundaries while compassionately inspiring each other and enjoy the benefits that come from effective team work.
Right from the outset as Princess Shona embarks on this quest, obstacles present – her food supplies are dwindling as no one else is residing or working at the castle, a stubborn drawbridge is refusing to move, chickens are escaping because the chicken house she built lacks structural integrity and peculiarly, glorious music is coming from the spooky looking woods. Princess Shona certainly has her hands full as there are structures to be fixed, solutions to be found and mysteries to be solved, the most pressing, to find her missing parents. Through it all, Princes Shona displays an unwavering determination and perseverance to problem solve, think outside the box and tackle all these head on with gusto.
Princess Shona’s problem solving abilities shine throughout this story. She displays a lateral mindset as she considers innovative alternative solutions to problems, for example she devises a creative plan to resolve a tricky problem, relieving the dragon’s toothache; she exhibits adaptability and flexibility as she works with the dragon to fly the skies in search of her parents and possesses such resilience and initiative to work towards her goals.
Readers are able to immerse themselves in Princess Shona’s world through the rich descriptive language and the delightful, lively black and white illustrations. The illustrations bring to life the strong bond Princess Shona and the dragon share.
This story would make an absorbing read aloud and is also perfect for young independent readers, 7+, who will be motivated to keep reading to find out exactly what has happened to Shona’s parents and the Wing-Thing.