Cover image for The twelve princesses
The twelve princesses
Fitchett, Gordon.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Phyllis Fogelman Books, 2000.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 31 cm
Retells the traditional tale in which the king's twelve daughters wear out their shoes every night while they are supposedly sleeping in their locked bedrooms. Illustrations show the characters depicted as ducks.
Added Uniform Title:
Zertanzten Schuhe. English.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.F5757 TW 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Every morning the shoes of the king's twelve daughters are worn out, as if they had been danced in all night. Perplexed, the king offers any one of the princesses in marriage, and eventual rule of his kingdom, to the prince who can solve this mystery. No one is able to help him'until an old soldier with a magic cloak takes up the challenge.The Twelve Dancing Princesses written by the Brothers Grimm in the early 1800s, has been retold here with a fresh voice and an original sense of humor by fine-artist Gordon Fitchett. The delightful pictures beg to be looked at again and again.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. Fitchett retells the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, staying faithful to the mystery that must be solved, the deadline that must be met, and the hero who conquers through bravery and guile. This time, however, the characters are ducks, a bevy of mysterious beauties who dance all night until their shoes fall apart. The tale, in which a king enlists suitors as detectives to find out how his daughters escape every night, is played here for laughs. The hapless suitors' fate (they're executed if they fail) is downplayed, and the focus is on princess ducks swanning around in elaborate hairstyles, gowns, bathing suits, and high heels. Fitchett's illustrations, in giddy colored pencil hues, mix landscapes and images of Chinese royal robes with Art Deco styles. The result is a visual and verbal madcap adventure that also has its share of endearing moments. --Connie Fletcher

Publisher's Weekly Review

An all-duck cast gives a campy spin to a Brothers Grimm classic in Fitchett's first children's book. While the text is relatively faithful to the original, the art replaces romance with an abundance of quirkily comic details. The nocturnal dancing siblings, for example, sport an amusing spectrum of hair styles, from a golden spiked 'do to a pink beehive, and their array of multicolored platform shoes and spike heels would turn Imelda Marcos green with envy. Bedecked in jewels and a range of outrageous fashionsÄwith lipstick meticulously applied to the edges of their beaksÄthe vain duckling sisters sneak out to meet dashing, equally garishly clad duck princes who whisk them off in an eclectic fleet of rowboats to a stylized, mid-lake castle. Fitchett achieves a deadpan styleÄworking in colored pencil, he creates pebble-textured compositions with a deceptively formal mood. This fun, funky rendition may not edge out Jane Ray's or Kinuko Y. Craft's more traditional versions of the same story, but it marks Fitchett as a newcomer to watch. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 5-This condensed retelling of the Grimms' story lacks the flowing vocabulary and descriptive detail that are characteristic of a well-told fairy tale. The clipped text, with its many multi-phrase sentences, rushes readers through the tale, making for a very unsatisfying read-aloud. More than a third of the sentences begin with conjunctions. The highlight of this retelling is clearly Fitchett's busy colored-pencil art crafted in grainy jewel tones with the sophisticated humor of The New Yorker cartoons. His characters are ducks whose "palaces" are glorified duck nesting boxes, and whose "kingdoms" encompass spans of picturesque lakes, mountains, and trees. The duck princesses and their princes are coifed and dressed in a multitude of styles. Retellings by Jane Ray (Dutton, 1996) and Marianna Mayer (Morrow, 1989), illustrated by Kinuko Y. Craft, hold to the descriptiveness of the original tale, although there are small differences in detail in each of them. Both would be duckier additions to folklore collections.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.