At long last, Princess April Morning-Glory emerges as a lost treasure from the golden age of Hollywood.
Written and illustrated in 1941 by Letitia Fairbanks, the niece of silent film stars Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford, the seemingly traditional children’s book is transformed into a modern-day fairy tale that will captivate child and adult readers alike.
Letitia was inspired to create portraiture for the characters of Princess April Morning-Glory from film stars of the day. John Barrymore, and Letitia's cousin Douglas Fairbanks Jr., provided glamorous inspiration through their then-current films. The Wicked King's (Barrymore) costume was sparked by his role as Louis XV in Irving Thalberg's 1938 Marie Antoinette, while the hairstyle resembles his eponymous role in Archie Mayo's 1931 Svengali. Prince Chivalry was inspired by her cousin's (Fairbanks) sword-fighting role in David O. Selznick's 1937 The Prisoner of Zenda.
Viewed as unconventional when it first debuted – up until then, no one had thought to meld a Disney-like moral tale with a swashbuckling adventure – the story centers on the prescient acknowledgment that we create our destinies by the choices that we make.
The main narrative is focused around the brave and courageous Princess April who must first transcend darkness and evil before she can realize her true potential. Intrigued by the Great World and its sense of adventure, a young Princess April decides to abandon the familiarity of her home in Fairyland and undertake a voyage into the unknown. Once outside the Enchanted Forest, she finds comfort and friendship in the company of various creatures who ensure her safe passage.
But returning home proves more difficult than at first she realized. In order to go back to Fairyland, a friendly wizard informs Princess April that she must first accomplish three good deeds. Can Princess April resist the temptation of darker forces and summon enough courage to continue doing good deeds? And if she dares to hold true to herself, will it someday lead her back home again?
Letitia Fairbanks, the niece of Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford, lived a life guided by artistic passions. In 1939, wanting to commemorate her late uncle, Letitia began work on Princess April Morning-Glory, allowing a creative outlet for combining her lifelong loves: painting, writing, and illustration.
Holding firm to her artistic identify, Letitia gravitated toward portraiture, landscapes, and still-lifes. She was also a biographer, co-authoring Douglas Fairbanks: The Fourth Musketeer, with Ralph Hancock. Her marriage to Hal Smoot in 1966 marked the beginning of a particularly joyful and creative period. Needle points and annual Christmas cards, which featured a painting from the previous year, not to mention her role as a wife, mother, step-mother and grandmother brought her much fulfillment. After a life rich in artistic accomplishment, Letitia passed away in September of 1992.
Kelley Smoot Garrett was born in Dallas, raised in Manhattan and has lived the life of a West Texas wildcatter as well that of an IT professional. At one time or another in her life she’s called places as diverse as Scourie, Scotland; Austin, Abilene and Midland, Texas; Singapore; Paris; and Auckland, New Zealand — home. She is proud to be the daughter of Sue Ashby and Harold Smoot and the step-daughter of Letitia Fairbanks Smoot. She currently lives with her husband Danny Garrett, three cats, and one happy only-dog, Moxie in the Texas Hill Country.
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Once Upon a Time the Fairy Queen of Crystal Castle a fairy baby in a shiny pink tulip in the middle of the Enchanted Forest and the Fairy King named her Princess April Morning-Glory.
As Princess April grew into a little girl she became disappointed that her wings were too small for her to fly. She went to Fairy School and learned her lessons well but she was eager to have big fairy wings. So she and Blue Butterfly left the castle and before she knew it she was lost and did not know how to get back to the Enchanted Forest and the Castle.
Princess April had to find Wise Owl but it was dark and she was very tired and scared. Some of the creatures of the forest tried to help her and this made her feel better and was able to continue.
Wise Owl advised her to see the Wizard at the edge of the forest but to beware of the Wicked Queen Misery.
The Wizard told her to go back into the forest and do three good deeds then she would be able to return home. What are good deeds? Who would need her help?
The author wrote and illustrated this fairy tale in 1941 after her Uncle, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., passed away. The story was written from her heart in memory of actors and actresses she dearly loved. It is a darling twist to Fairy Tales with fairies, wizards, witches and magic. The illustrations were classic of the golden age of Hollywood's swashbucklers, chivalry, maidens in distress, and enchanted forest. Bringing it all together to entertain fairy tale lovers of all ages.
They say the book is a treasure and I totally agree. I will always have a special place in my personal library for this book.
I highly recommend this book.
I rated this book a 5 out of 5.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Pump Up Your Book Tours for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my honest opinion.