Monday, April 1, 2013

Princess April Morning-Glory ~ Blog Tour April Morning-Glory 
by Letitia Fairbanks
ISBN: 9780988784802
Pre-Order: $24.00

About the book: 
What kind of a world would you create, if you had to do three good deeds to make it home again?

Focused around the brave and courageous Princess April who must first transcend darkness and evil before she can realize her true potential. Intrigued by the Great World and its sense of adventure, a young Princess April decides to abandon the familiarity of her home in Fairyland and undertake a voyage into the unknown. Once outside the Enchanted Forest, she finds comfort and friendship in the company of various creatures who ensure her safe passage.

But returning home proves more difficult than at first she realized. In order to go back to Fairyland, a friendly wizard informs Princess April that she must first accomplish three good deeds. Can Princess April resist the temptation of darker forces and summon enough courage to continue doing good deeds? And if she dares to hold true to herself, will it someday lead her back home again?

My thoughts:
Princess April Morning-Glory is the classic story of a found baby, adopted by a King and Queen (in this case fairies) and raised to be a Good Fairy. You have the typical early 1900's-1950's fiction children's story which was used to teach obedience, a cheerful disposition and good character through a cute story. 

The story is very cute, with darling illustrations (picture the little salt box girl or Shirley Temple type illustrations). The only thing I personally didn't care for was the calligraphy for the text as I found it a hard to read for me as an adult - it would be very difficult for a child learning to read and even a child who is comfortable reading on her own. The illustrations definitely carry the story and are adorable, full of detail and beautiful. 

Ideal for preschoolers who have some ability to focus on the story - approximate age range is 3-6. Reading level is probably 4th grade+ due the calligraphy not the writing itself.

Learn more about the history/style of the book:
At long last, Princess April Morning-Glory emerges as a lost treasure from the golden age of Hollywood.

Written and illustrated in 1941 by Letitia Fairbanks, the niece of silent film stars Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford, the seemingly traditional children’s book is transformed into a modern-day fairy tale that will captivate child and adult readers alike.

Letitia was inspired to create portraiture for the characters of Princess April Morning-Glory from film stars of the day. John Barrymore, and Letitia's cousin Douglas Fairbanks Jr., provided glamorous inspiration through their then-current films. The Wicked King's (Barrymore) costume was sparked by his role as Louis XV in Irving Thalberg's 1938 Marie Antoinette, while the hairstyle resembles his eponymous role in Archie Mayo's 1931 Svengali. Prince Chivalry was inspired by her cousin's (Fairbanks) sword-fighting role in David O. Selznick's 1937 The Prisoner of Zenda.

Viewed as unconventional when it first debuted – up until then, no one had thought to meld a Disney-like moral tale with a swashbuckling adventure – the story centers on the prescient acknowledgment that we create our destinies by the choices that we make.

About the author:
Letitia Fairbanks.jpgLetitia Fairbanks, the niece of Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford, lived a life guided by artistic passions. In 1939, wanting to commemorate her late uncle, Letitia began work on Princess April Morning-Glory, allowing a creative outlet for combining her lifelong loves: painting, writing, and illustration.

Holding firm to her artistic identify, Letitia gravitated toward portraiture, landscapes, and still-lifes. She was also a biographer, co-authoring Douglas Fairbanks: The Fourth Musketeer, with Ralph Hancock. Her marriage to Hal Smoot in 1966 marked the beginning of a particularly joyful and creative period. Needle points and annual Christmas cards, which featured a painting from the previous year, not to mention her role as a wife, mother, step-mother and grandmother brought her much fulfillment. After a life rich in artistic accomplishment, Letitia passed away in September of 1992.

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I was given a copy of Princess April Morning-Glory to read and review on CCB. I was not required to have a positive review and no money exchanged hands. Thanks!

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