Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a little princess. She was seven years old, soon to be eight, with short brown hair and large brown eyes, and she was a very spoiled child.
Her mother, Queen Ethelwynne, spoiled her quite a bit, but her father, King Theophilus, spoiled her rotten. So that all the courtiers at the Royal Palace, and all the servants too, from the Lord High Chamberlain to the smallest scullery boy, agreed among themselves that little Princess Penelope was a right pain in the neck.
Indeed, Princess Penelope is a sassy, bossy, selfish little thing who stamps her little feet and pitches a temper tantrum at the first hint of not getting her own way. Therefore, when she requests a pet pig for her eighth birthday, that is just what she gets, despite her royal parents’ misgivings.
The pig she chooses belongs to a skinny orphan boy named Johnny Skinner. Johnny has a very tender spot in his heart for his pig, whom he has named Lollipop, as she is all the family he has in this world. And Lollipop is an especially bright pig — he has already taught her to obey a number of his gently-spoken commands: Sit! Down! Roll over! Stand! But there is no getting around it. Lollipop is the pig for Penelope.
The trouble comes when Penelope insists that her pig be allowed full access to the palace, and Queen Ethelwynne finally puts her foot down, stating emphatically that if the pig comes into the palace, she will leave. What is King Theophilus going to do? The only one he can turn to is Johnny Skinner. We know Johnny is a very wise young boy, but is he just as capable of training spoiled princesses as bright, young pigs? And how is he at calming the fears of Queens over their prize-winning rose gardens?
Dick King-Smith is the author of many, many books for elementary-age readers, including The Sheep Pig, upon which the movie Babe was based. We have read quite a number of his books and have very much enjoyed the vast majority of them. Lady Lollipop is a great book for advanced-beginner readers — short enough to tackle, yet with as zesty a plot and characters as many a longer book. Jill Barton’s charming illustrations peppered here and there amongst the text not only bring the flaming-cheeked Penelope and bright-eyed Lady Lollipop to life, but visually break up the text very nicely for early chapter-book readers. Splendid little story.
Here’s the Amazon link: Lady Lollipop