Dangerously Ever After

DangerouslyEverAfter by Dashka Slater, illustrated by Valeria Docampo

{published 2012 by Dial Books for Young Readers}

I’m not usually too keen on princess books. I just…don’t get the appeal? And the pink? And the super sweetness?

Princess Amanita is my kind of girl, though. She’s prickly and fearless, and she has a killer hairdo. (I’ll overlook her love for cats. They still make me nervous.)

Remember Dashka Slater? She’s the brain behind a story full of words like stink lilies, heckle-berries, and sentences like ‘It sounded like a troop of monkeys playing tubas.’

Fun, lively, and funny, much as l imagine her to be.

And Valeria Docampo has a sweeping style that evokes a monster sense of wonder in me. This illustration that welcomes you to her website is breathtaking.

Her pictures are a perfect frame for Princess Amanita.


Shape is just any space that is enclosed by a line. They can be defined and pointy triangles, or round and comforting circles. Or perhaps just the space that’s left behind, in between two lines.

Princess Amanita is thorny on the outside, interested in danger and sharp things. So her hair resembles a scorpion tale, and her dress is outfitted in what looks like metal. Even her garden is prickly.

But she is sweet and friendly underneath it all, so the softness in the curves of her face and dress serve as a subtle reminder to us.

I love this spread. Gradually from left to right, the vines grow from pointy triangular thorns to the muted and organic lines of the Prince’s kingdom. Similar shapes tell a very different story.

And I adore these tiny frames that are dotted through the pages. The shape for these spot illustrations is bound by both curved and straight lines. She’s not all sweet, but she’s not all danger either.

Because really, aren’t we all a bit like that?



  • Posted January 14, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    That sounds fantastic and the illos are amazing! Just when I’m on a book ban after Christmas. How could you? 😉

  • Posted January 14, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I know, sorry. I need more bookshelves, too!

  • Posted January 14, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Oh I don’t care about bookshelves just a bank account for books 😉

  • Posted January 14, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Looks terrific! Gorgeous illustrations! And I love the danger element 🙂

  • tinamcho
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I love how you teach us to look at illustrations!

  • Posted January 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Love the illustrations. I added this to my Pinterest to read list! Love the name Princess Amanita. And I popped over to Valeria Docampo’s website…the whole thing was breathtaking! Inspiring! Thanks, Carter!

  • Posted January 15, 2013 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Lovely image… Ireally like your work!!!:-)

  • Posted January 15, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I’m just a reader and a fan, not the author or illustrator. But you are absolutely right…so lovely!

  • Posted January 15, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Not bad at all to read all the wonderful books and Yes this work are of course very nice!!! 🙂

  • Joanna
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    I love this soft and spiky combination!

  • Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    What lovely illustrations! I just recently wrote a book, that I illustrated as well. I really love the detail in her work, simply amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  • Posted February 25, 2013 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Adrian's Blog.

  • Posted March 10, 2013 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    The illustrator’s art is so very pretty.