The Princess and the Pizza

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9780823417988: The Princess and the Pizza

An out of work princess must prepare a feast fit for a prince.

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About the Author:

Mary Jane Auch and her husband Herm Auch are a husband and wife team of illustrators whose first picture book collaboration was The Princess and the Pizza. Mary Jane Auch is also known for her historical and humorous fiction for children and her hilarious poultry parody picture books. The Auchs live on a small farm near Rochester, New York. Visit www.mjauch.com to learn more.
In high school Herm Auch painted sets for school plays, drawings for the yearbook, and was commissioned to do a landscape painting for one of his father’s friends. While still in high school, Herm worked as an engraving apprentice for an offset printing company.

When it was time to go to college, Herm followed his teacher’s prophecy by enrolling as an illustration major at Rochester Institute of Technology, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In the summers between his college years, he worked for an art agency where one of his assignments was illustrating a book. In his senior year at RIT, Herm started working at the Gannett Rochester Newspapers.

In 1966, he met MJ Springer, who soon became his wife. For a number of years, Herm had a weekly editorial cartoon called Herm Auch’s Rochester. In 1975 Herm and columnist Dick Dougherty were assigned to ride across the country on bicycles, writing and illustrating the Bike Centennial series. In their three month odyssey, the two newsmen found fascinating stories of real people from coast to coast. Herm served as the photographer and illustrator for the project.

Herm made his first venture into children's books by illustrating I Was A Third Grade Science Project, written by Mary Jane. After forty years as a newspaper graphic artist, Herm retired in 2000 to pursue a new career as a children’s book illustrator.

From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 2-When Princess Paulina's father surrenders his kingship, the enterprising young lady sets off for a neighboring castle to marry Prince Drupert. Vying with other princesses, she sails through the traditional pea test, stays in the running after the glass-slipper fitting, but faces real difficulty in the third trial. Competing against two other princesses, Paulina finds herself left with some flour, yeast, water, tomatoes, cheese, and the threat of a beheading if she can't concoct a tempting feast. In haste and trepidation, she tosses the fruits of her culinary labor onto the hearth and-voil...-wins the everlasting admiration of the prince and the overbearing queen. Paulina, however, has other plans; she spurns marriage and opens the highly successful Pizza Palace. But the happy-ever-after ending has a hitch; Drupert's mother is a pizzeria regular and is last seen sharing a slice with Paulina's father. This fractured fairy tale has a thoroughly modern sensibility, from the retired monarch pursuing a second career in the arts to the feisty heroine who runs her own business. The story moves briskly along with plenty of tongue-in-cheek references to traditional tales, and the exaggerated features in the illustrations are reflected in the hyperbole of the text. In a clever bit of foreshadowing, Paulina's oft-repeated "for Pete's sake" becomes the etymological basis for the word pizza. One bothersome note: Paulina's diamond pendant disappears from the illustrations with distracting regularity. A silly take on kids' favorite takeout.
Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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