The Very Little Princess
Although Zoey seems to think she is close to her mother, there are many things about their life that she does not understand. For one, she lives alone with her mother, without any knowledge of her father. Then there is the grandmother that Zoey never knew she had and whom her mother suddenly decides to visit. Perhaps what puzzles Zoey the most is the fact that from the moment she and her mother arrive at her grandmother's house, the two adults argue.
To distract herself from their heated discussion, Zoey wanders through the house and finds her mother's old room. There she discovers a doll house with a doll which awakens when Zoey's tear drops upon her. "Princess Regina" is demanding, but Zoey obliges and eventually the pair discover that the doll will fall back to sleep when left alone, but will awaken again when touched by a girl's tears.; And tears there will be, for Zoey's mother has decided that she needs time off from her parenting and abandons Zoey indefinitely at her grandmother's house. When Princess Regina empathizes with Zoey's sense of loss she also cries, and her tears of compassion bring her to life for good.
As the story unfolds, the reader learns that Zoey's mother is consistently unreliable. She often stays in bed, leaving Zoey to fend for herself. Zoey is not completely surprised that her mother has left her with a grandmother Zoey has only just met. She has never been able to depend on her mother. Zoey's friendship with Princess Regina provides a pretense of a happy ending. However, any little girl reading this book will know that Zoey would have preferred to have a mother who loved her, rather than a doll with which to play.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.
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