Published May 3rd 2016 by Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
While I haven't read any of Steel's books, I've seen enough and heard enough, to know that she writes dramatic! serious! romances - most of which are bestsellers! - and I was curious to see just how she'd tackle the relative non-dramatic foundation of a picture book.
The answer? In a very glittery and charming fashion.
Steel crafts a short, sparkling novel about Minnie, a Parisian Chihuahua. Her family is given the chance to travel to Hollywood to deliver a dress to a celebrity, and Minnie tags along for the ride.
Through pure circumstance, Minnie soon is given the opportunity to become a celebrity herself...
So, the first thing that readers should know is that the book is relatively short. Steel uses minimal sentences, and relies a lot on the gorgeous illustrations by Kristi Valiant.
(No, seriously - the illustrations exploded off the page in a riot of color and activity, and I was dazzled by every page.)
Second, the book involves a degree of wish fulfillment, with Minnie immediately becoming the next canine star in a Hollywood feature. However, that's what's great about this book.
While I'm generally a strong advocate of books that impart important life lessons, I also love books that simply remind readers that fate and dreaming big, may sometimes very well lead to surprising and rewarding circumstances. Minnie doesn't plan on starring in her own film, but her rise to stardom is basically a reminder that nothing is impossible in life.
Steel's subsequent focus on the perks of Minnie's stardom are a fun reminder on what it means to take a moment to enjoy certain situations. However, even though Minnie takes advantage of being pampered, she doesn't get swept away by it. In the end, Steel has her return to Paris, and it's a nice reminder that life continues, and it's important not to get swept away by the glitz and glamour in life.
Bottom line: A cute book, with a nice reminder to stop and enjoy life. Sure to be a hit with younger readers.
About the author/illustrator:
DANIELLE STEEL is one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 650 million copies of her novels in print. She is published in sixty-nine countries and forty-three languages. Ms. Steel also founded and runs two foundations: The Nick Traina Foundation, named in honor of her late son, which finances organizations that address mental illness and child abuse, and Yo! Angel!, which assists the homeless. In 2014, she was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, the highest honor bestowed by the French government. She is the mother of nine children and lives in Paris and San Francisco with her Chihuahuas, Minnie and Blue.
KRISTI VALIANT is the illustrator of Penguin Cha-Cha and the Little Wings chapter book series. She graduated magna cum laude from Columbus College of Art & Design and serves as the regional director for the Indiana chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Kristi grew up in Wisconsin and now lives in Indiana with her husband and daughters. Visit Kristi online at KristiValiant.com.