La Princesa and the Pea

Cover of La Princesa and the Pea

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  • PUBLISHER: Putnam
  • RELEASE DATE: September 5, 2017
  • AUTHOR: Susan Middleton Elya
  • ILLUSTRATOR: Juana Martinez-Neal
  • AGE LEVEL: 4-8, 32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-399-25156-6

The Princess and the Pea gets a fresh twist in this charming bilingual retelling.

El príncipe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree.

The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa.

But the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too…

Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.

★ 2018 Pura Belpré Medal Award for Illustration

★ 2018 Ezra Jack Keats Illustration Award Nominee

★ A Junior Library Guild Selection

★ Society of Illustrators Original Art Selection

★ A Volunteer State Book Award 2019-2020 Nominee

★ A Ladybug Picture Book Award 2018 Nominee


School Library Journal:

★ This engaging read-aloud is a fresh reimagining of a classic (…) The endearing and playful illustrations set the story in Peru (…) This engaging read-aloud is a fresh reimagining of a classic. A must for all libraries. —Starred review

School Library Connection:

★ This book would be great in the classroom for teaching context clues, how to use prior knowledge and inferences, fairy tales, Peruvian art, etc. (…) Highly recommended. —Starred review


The classic Hans Christian Andersen tale unfolds with Latin flair (…) the charming illustrations give this title great shelf appeal (…) Martinez-Neal’s darling, soft-edged mixed-media illustrations bring the brown-skinned characters to life in costumes from different regions of Peru, while guinea pigs and alpaca fleece create an atmosphere of a busy rural textile industry.


Martinez-Neal’s illustrations, featuring stylishly exaggerated figures rendered in warm tones and delicate lines, are inspired by the textile designs of the indigenous people of Peru. With eye-catching details on every page, this book is sure to capture the imaginations of young readers.

The Bulletin:

(…) Martinez-Neal’s graceful illustrations (…) really make this title a winner. Careful shading and blending of colors and edges, attractive patterning, and subtle spattering or stippling give the art a homey, warm appeal. The dark-haired, brown-skinned characters feature rosy cheeks and ruddy noses, and details of their figures and clothing accentuate their personalities; for example, the queen’s Frida Kahlo-esque unibrow and wide form make her a formidable figure (echoed by her crabby-looking feline companion), and her hat and dress bristle with fibers, emphasizing her prickly nature. Close-looking viewers will also spot clues that provide visual confirmation of the text’s eventual reveal (…) Although this is an enjoyable retelling for young audiences in general, professionals looking to expand the diversity of a fairy-tale collection or unit of study will find it particularly valuable.

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