Princess Pistachio Reviews

Kirkus **Starred Review**PrincessPistachio_HR_RGB

“The skillful combination of text and illustrations addresses many serious concerns of early childhood—and even of parenthood—without straying from the book’s tone of fun and frivolity. (Among the issues so adeptly addressed are adoption, sibling relationships, classmate rejection and a missing child.) The characters are pen-and-ink creations tinted with bright watercolors; Pistachio’s russet braid and freckled face are reminiscent of Pippi Longstocking and the author’s own Stella. Playful names (Pistachio’s teacher is Mrs. Trumpethead) add to the fun. A playful and entertaining take on children’s perennial questions surrounding ideas of personhood, family and community. (Early reader. 4-8)”

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School Library Journal

“On her birthday, Pistachio Shoelace gets an unsigned card that says ‘Happy birthday, my little princess’ and a golden crown. She has suspected her whole life that she is actually a princess, so she weaves a tale that she believes is the story of her royal heritage. At dinner, donning her princess dress and crown, she informs her family that ‘From this day forth, you shall call me Princess Pistachio.’ Unfortunately, her annoying little sister Penny wants to follow in her footsteps and decides she will be a princess, too. In this easy chapter book comprised of five short chapters, Pistachio realizes that her own family, friends, and teacher, and even the neighborhood boys don’t really acknowledge her new status and some make fun of her. Readers will be empathetic to her struggles, especially when she wishes her sister away, and then has to find her. Young readers transitioning to chapter books will be enthralled by Pistachio and her big personality and imagination. The pen-and-ink illustrations are tinted with bright water colors and will help readers visualize the girl’s antics. VERDICT A wonderful new offering from Gay to take her picture book readers to the next stage.”
—Nancy Jo Lambert, McSpedden Elementary Frisco, TX


“Pistachio is overjoyed when a golden crown arrives by mail, along with an unsigned card that reads, ‘Happy birthday, my little princess!’ She decides that her real parents are a king and queen who will be coming for her soon. Suddenly it seems less important to obey her ‘adoptive’ parents or be kind to her little sister, Penny. Her snooty pretensions make her a laughingstock at school. But when Penny gets lost one night, Pistachio summons her courage (‘a real princess is brave’) to venture out alone and find her sister. Gay, best known for the Stella picture-book series, switches gears to write for a somewhat older audience. This early chapter book may be shorter than most, but it vividly portrays the characters’ emotions in both the text and the many colorful ink-and-wash illustrations. Sometimes charming and sometimes funny, the story is as satisfying as its protagonist’s name: Pistachio Shoelace. The last page reveals the cover of Princess Pistachio and the Pest, the second book in Gay’s new series.”

CM Magazine

“In Princess Pistachio, Marie-Louise Gay appeals to young readers making the transition to chapter books. The text is easy to read and full of engaging conversations between the ‘princess’ and her family and friends. Her friends are brutally honest with her when she pretends to be someone she is not: ‘You are no more a princess than I am. What has got into you?’ Young readers will definitely be able to identify with Pistachio Shoelace’s desire to be someone else while suffering through family responsibilities and obnoxious siblings…

…This book can definitely be used as a read-aloud for early emergent readers. Fluent readers can read it themselves. Princess Pistachio is a beautifully written and luminously illustrated book which will help children make the transition to chapter books. Readers of all ages will also be thrilled to learn that there will soon be a new Princess Pistachio book! Highly Recommended.

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National Reading Campaign

“Kids will grin when Pistachio walks with ‘delicate steps, like a preening peacock… bows her head and curtsies gracefully before the dog.’ They’ll feel her frustration when no one takes her seriously: Penny thinks it’s make-believe, her classmates tease and laugh at her, and– as Gay reveals with an amusing illustration of the yawning pup–even the dog isn’t impressed. They’ll feel her devastation when it becomes clear that she is in the right family and decides she is ‘nothing at all.’ It’s only when Pistachio draws on her real resources to solve a problem of her own making that she lays claim to the royal title once and for all… and even shares it with her sister, Penny.

Princess Pistachio is an early reader that will be enjoyed by budding princes and princesses – especially those who took a liking to Stella, Sam, Caramba, and other characters of Gay’s imagining.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“…Children have always been taken with Marie-Louise Gay’s Stella and Sam series of books, by the wonder and wisdom of an older sister and the innocent inquiry of her little brother. Now, these readers can enjoy Marie-Louise Gay’s signature illustrations in the more challenging stories of Pistachio, the girl who is definitely more like a pixie than an angel. She may still have Stella’s dramatic flair but it’s wrapped up in a scampish nature that is all Pistachio.

But, what will exalt Princess Pistachio to the upper echelons of early chapter books is the voice that Marie-Louise Gay has given the little girl and the richness of the text in general. Delightful play with words and challenging vocabulary enriches Princess Pistachio above most early readers….

With a second book, Princess Pistachio and the Pest, already scheduled, I believe that Marie-Louise Gay and Pajama Press have just created an Anne of Green Gables for the very youngest of young CanLit readers, and one who will poke at our hearts and funny bones alike.”

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“…It’s a great deal of fun to read about Pistachio and her attempts to prove her worth as royalty, despite many parental obstacles…It isn’t until a family emergency fills her with worry and sets her on a course to find her little sister that she realizes what is truly most important in life.

This is a welcome early reader that is sure to earn even more fans for the very popular and charming Marie-Louise Gay. You will find Pistachio to be lovable, energetic and very opinionated.”

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Quill & Quire

“Gay’s tale is a clever twist on the many, many secret-destiny stories that haunt children’s literature (not to mention children’s own imaginations). The newly self-aware Princess Pistachio immediately begins demanding special treatment and refusing to do common chores, until she is brought back to reality by her non-royal grandfather, who tells her the crown was a gift from him. When her sister goes missing, Pistachio decides she must still be as brave as a princess, and sets out to find her.”

Winnipeg Free Press

“Marie-Louise Gay’s whimsical artwork has delighted children since her 1984 picture book, Lizzy’s Lion. Princess Pistachio is an early reader that will appeal to ages 4-8.

Pistachio’s dreams of being a real princess are confirmed when she receives a birthday card and a golden crown addressed to a princess. But her schoolmates and her little sister Penny don’t take her royal status seriously. When Penny is missing, Pistachio feels guilt, and searches for her in the dark.

Gay has written or illustrated over 60 books for children. Born in Montreal, her free and fanciful artwork has won her many awards.”

Through the Looking Glass Book Review

“Young readers are going to love this amusing chapter book, which introduces us to a girl who is sure that she is a princess who is being raised by the wrong family. It is amusing to see how Pistachio deals with her naysayers, and how she learns that there are actually more important things in life than being a princess.”
—Marya Jansen-Gruber

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