What with Paris climate talks, the Mr Glue Book Review has decided to get environmental too. It seemed like a good moment to write about a really lovely fairy tale about the world we live in and the importance of looking after it: The Apple Pip Princess by Jane Ray.
Enter an elderly, unhappy king and three daughters, living in a barren, poverty stricken kingdom.
The older two daughters are vain, greedy and selfish while the younger one is dreamy, imaginative and loving. The king tells his daughters that it will soon be time for him to pass the kingdom over to one of them. In order for him to decide which shall take on this responsibility, he asks them to do something in seven days and nights that ‘Will make your mark, and make me proud of you’.
The elder daughters enslave the people of the kingdom and build great, glittering towers, but the youngest goes out and starts to plant trees, and as she does so, word of what she is doing spreads, and people come to join her; friendships are forged and the landscape transformed.
When the king comes to see what his daughters have been doing, he shivers when he looks at the great, glittering towers that his elder daughters have had built. When he gazes out over fruit trees that his youngest daughter has planted and which have brought the landscape to back to life, he is filled with happiness. His kingdom has been made to ‘blossom again’.
Jane Ray’s wonderful story and utterly gorgeous illustrations make this one of the most inspiring and moving fairy tales (I can never read it without a bit of a lump in my throat). It feels so relevant to now. It’s environmental but not preachy. The humble opinion of the Mr Glue Book Review is that it should definitely be on every child’s bookshelf. (I know it’s a bit pink and princessy on the cover, but boys, please try to see past that!)