Life as a princess is pretty boring to young Robin. She yearns for adventure and decides to go in search for it herself. Why wait for a knight in shining armor when she’s perfectly capable of getting into all kinds of mischief on her own? Such is the case with The Runaway Princess, the first book from Random House Graphic intended for younger audiences. To be honest, this book is for everyone.
When I first heard of The Runaway Princess, I was excited to share this with my two sons, Oliver (6) and Parker (4). I had intended to write this review with them but all I could really get out of them was that Oliver liked the part where Paul was in love with the mermaid and Parker’s favorite part was when the wolf showed up. Thanks, guys
These two pieces come early in The Runaway Princess. There are actually three stories in this book and they’re all full of fun and adventure. Creator Johan Troïanowski introduces us to a world full of possibility and wonder. It’s a bright, vibrant landscape where anything can happen. I love how we just dive right into everything too. We don’t get a long, complicated history of this place, its rules, or its lineage. Each new creature, character, or land is taken into the overall fabric of the story as a given. Of course, we’d have pumpkin witches, pirates in bottles, and mechanical birds.
My absolute favorite part of The Runaway Princess (and one that my kids really enjoyed as well) comes when Troïanowski pulls us into the action. There are several times throughout the book where there’s a puzzle to solve or a maze to navigate. We have to help Robin and her friends get through to the next page. The wolf part that Parker liked? That comes right before Troïanowski asking us to close the book, shake it up and down three times, and then turn the page. When we open it again, the wolf has been subdued. These interactive pieces are used sparingly, making each one special and a real treat.
Troïanowski’s art style captures that wide-eyed look of awe that can only come from a child. It’s a cartoony look that fits with the story and themes perfectly. What really stands out is the color. This is a gorgeously vibrant title. There are some moments of darkness, but the light shines through even in the deepest reaches of caves and tunnels. It’s absolutely beautiful.
There are a number of messages that pop up throughout The Runaway Princess, shown through the eyes of Robin and her friends. When you put them through that perspective, we reach an obvious conclusion without feeling like we’re being hit over the head with a theme that could take us out of the story. Overall, the book is about friendship, acceptance, and not judging a book by its cover. The Runaway Princess redefines what being a princess is about. It’s not just pretty dresses and fancy balls. Princesses can get their hands dirty and go on all sorts of exciting questions. So can everyone else for that matter. Take a page from Robin’s book and jump head first into your next adventure.
The Runaway Princess from Random House Graphic is scheduled for release on January 21st, 2020 at your local bookstore and Amazon.