Book review of “Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose” by Nancy Gow
Ten Big Toes and A Prince’s Nose by Nancy Gow is the story of a prince and
princess who meet, fall in love and get married to apparently live happily
ever after. The unusual aspect of the tale is that both the prince and
princess have significant deformities. The princess has freakishly large
feet, and the prince has “a nose like a barn.” Because of these features,
both seemed doomed in the field of romance. However, both characters have
great personalities and good characters. Both have wise parents who advise
them, in identical rhyme, that:
I am what I am and that’s all right with me,
I don’t have to be different, I just have to be.
I don’t want to be somebody else. No sir-ree!
I am what I am and that’s all right with me
Eventually the two meet on a ski slope. The princess is skiing without
skis on because her feet are as long as skis. The prince’s nose is
concealed under a scarf. They ski together, get along well, and
eventually laugh when their physical problems are revealed. Soon the
prince proposes, and the happily- ever -after illustration implies that
they are a perfect match.
This book is charming and appealing. The self esteem message may be a
little heavy handed, but that is offset by the light and humorous tone of
the book. It is written in rhyme, adding to its lighthearted appeal. There
are also modern slang words such as “beak” and “schnoz” that counteract the
preachiness of the theme. The misty pastel illustrations by Stephen
Costanza augment the gentle and reassuring tone of the book. Some silly touches, such as the
presence of a modern ski lift in an otherwise old fashioned scene, redeem
the potentially didactic message in a delightful way.
Review by Donna Talmage