Review: I Am Not a Prince! by Rachael Davis, illustrated by Beatrix Hatcher

Each spring, beneath the silvery moon, the magic frogs slavishly kiss the princess and transform into froggy 'princes' — similar to events in well-known traditional fairy tales. 

All except Hopp who, when his turn comes, refuses to be typecast — becoming, instead, an outcast — which starts his sometimes emotional yet awesome journey of self-discovery. Who does Hopp truly want to be?

Published earlier this month, this double debut from author Rachael Davis and illustrator Beatrix Hatcher is a happy, inclusive picture book that encourages children to be their true selves and follow their own destinies. Davis' easy-on-the-ear rhyming couplets and empowering, memorable refrain 'I am not a prince', also make this text a great read-aloud to share with children in the EFYS. 

Hatcher's striking, imaginative and brightly coloured illustrations are full of quirky-comic touches — all of which will captivate and delight beginner readers. In addition, LGBTQ symbolism can be found within the images in various guises including the ladybird motif on nearly every page that children will love to spot, and a rainbow-coloured gate and wizard-bug. In addition, the rainbow-flag colour palette runs throughout, from cover to cover, reinforcing the story's liberating, all-embracing message.  

The final page spread shows an enlightened, diverse, accepting community where the magic frogs are contentedly transforming not just into frog-princes but also frog-zebras, frog-mermaids or even frog-butterflies — the options are limitless! This scene feels gloriously triumphant, uplifting and hopeful; even the princess can be seen flying off into the distance with Bear and Dragon from earlier in the story (no longer duty-bound to pucker up for frogs).

A modern take on traditional fairytale roles, this refreshingly non-conformist, joyful read is a must for young children today. In a lighthearted and positive way, it challenges outmoded gender stereotypes, while promoting the importance of free choice and celebrating your truth loud and proud. 

I Am Not a Prince! by Rachael Davis, illustrated by Beatrix Hatcher, is available in hardback from Bookshop

Thanks to Hachette Children's for sending me a review copy.

Check out my Black Children's Books directory for suggested suitability of all the books I review.  All the books that I read are also checked against my Jericho Benchmark.