Cool is the operative word for Poppy after a visit to her teenage cousin, Daisy, who lives by the seaside. Poppy is a young girl in a hurry. She wants to grow up very fast, become a teenager and do all the “cool” things that teens do. In short, buy cool clothes, ride cool bikes, wear cool jewellery, go out on cool camps and form a cool music band.
Poppy’s world changes after she observes Daisy and her friends, Lucy and Rose. Their lifestyle—each of them does the cool things listed above—is what Poppy wants to emulate. Since growing up faster is not an option, Poppy and her friend, Honey, dream up moneymaking schemes that can help the cause dear to them—buy new bikes and ride off to Camomile Cove (where Daisy lives) to perform as backup singers with Daisy’s band, The Beach Babes, and help it beat its rivals at the end-of-term celebrations. Poppy is convinced, much to the annoyance of her—and Honey’s— mother, that money is the only thing that stops them from doing whatever they like.
Pocket money Princess: By Janey Louise Jones, Young Corgi, 120 pages, Rs150.
Both girls have just over a week to earn and invest the money in two Warrior Princess bicycles. What follows is an amusing series of schemes the duo, led by Poppy, dream up. From trying to sell off their toys to selling organic vegetables grown by Poppy’s grandfather to using Twinkletoes, Poppy’s pony, to give rides to children on the beach—they try everything to put together some savings.
What clicks for the entrepreneurial duo is making and selling perfumes. The venture is a success and they have money. But in a beautiful gesture, both Poppy and Honey spend the amount in buying accessories—a grooming kit, halter and a blanket—for Twinkletoes. Is that the end of their dream to help Daisy and her band win the contest?
The Poppy stories—called the Princess Poppy series—are a rage among pre-teen girls. Author Janey Louise Jones, who was discovered by Random House after publishing her first two books all by herself, started writing only after her third child was born.
Now, apart from a 12-book deal with the publishers, she also has a lucrative licensing contract for the character, Poppy. Louise Jones’ Poppy books were written for four-year-old girls as well as 10-year-olds. Pocket Money Princess and A True Princess were written with the latter in mind.
As far as characters go, Poppy’s is a refreshing change from most of the girl brat pack being unleashed by various writers. The earnestness in Poppy is not abrasive. Her adventures, too, have a childlike appeal to them. The book has a subtle message: Let childhood be normal.
The writer is the editor of Heek (e-heek.com), a children’s magazine. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org