"How did it go again?" asked Rebecca.
"Once upon a time," said Jane.
So begins a richly imaginative tale of childhood fantasy that marks author Pete Marlowe's debut in the children's literature world. Here is a fresh new approach to storytelling that radiates originality. In his spare yet captivating prose, Marlowe takes us on a journey into the world of Rebecca and Jane, two sisters who recall the life they led before the hand of nature changed their world.
Once four identical princesses lived a wonderful life in a grand kingdom, until the day an enormous earthquake shook the land to its very roots. Everything shook so hard, in fact, that time itself shook with it. The two princesses were tumbled out of their bed with their mother close behind, into a great hole that opened in the ground. They were shaken through time and space, through Ancient Egypt and the Wild West, to fall at last into the backyard of a trailer park.
Only Jane and Rebecca remember the story, because their mother bumped her head when she landed and forgot that she was queen in a faraway land. The sisters know that two other girls who look just like them have mounted the royal coach to search through time and many lands to find their sisters, the lost princesses. In the meantime, Jane and Rebecca keep their past well hidden.
One day, on their way to the school bus, they meet a wise old woman who recognizes them for what they truly are: princesses from a distant land, unwittingly transported by an earthquake. She reveals to them an important secret: there have been many earthquakes throughout the ages, and with each one other princes and princesses may have suffered the same fate as they. Some, too, may have bumped their heads, just like Rebecca and Jane's mother, so that they do not even realize they used to be royalty in another time and place. More importantly, just because they can't recall anything doesn't mean they should be treated differently than they were before the earthquake struck. For the rest of the day, Jane and Rebecca look at their classmates with wonder and curiosity, trying to guess who else among them is royalty.
Pete Marlowe has lived in the south of France, Mexico City, Montreal and the Yukon. He has been a carpenter, anthropologist, farm laborer, war correspondent, and chef. Pete now turns his many talents and creative mind to children's books, and has returned to British Columbia to live - at least till the next earthquake.
Leanne Franson is the illustrator of several children's books, including "I Miss Franklin P. Shuckles" (1998) by Ulana Snihura and "Jessica Takes Charge" (1999) by Linda LaRose. Leanne lives in Montreal.
[Pete Marlowe's] His gift for creating convincing seven-year-old conversation carries the reader right into the imaginary meanderings of his appealing and adventurous protagonists. Seemingly simple though his text is, Marlowe's style is sophisticated, inventive and slyly humourous. Charming acrylic paintings by Leanne Franson...capture the tongue-in-cheek mood of The Trailer Park Princesses perfectly. The moral of this story is both cleverly conceived and subtly delivered, making it a very pleasant change from the kind of heavy-handedness which sometimes afflicts children's picture books. Recommended.