I’d Rather Be a Fairy Princess by Petra Kotrotsos and Christina Irini Arathimos, Makaro Press
This picture book is a labour of love for a lot of people. Petra Kotrotsos was only six when she had a playground fall and doctors investigating her sore back discovered she had a neuroblastoma in her chest. So began weeks of treatment involving operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The story describes Petra’s high and low moments as she copes with the time in hospital, the treatments, and the side effects. She’d always wanted to be a fairy princess, but when her hair falls out she realises she’s better suited to being a fairy warrior in the battle against cancer. The story ends when her hair starts to grow back, but in reality Petra’s neuroblastoma recurred four times until she was fifteen.
|Christina Irini Arathimos|
The story was originally written by Petra when she was seven, and sympathetic editing has turned it into a straightforward, easy-to-read account of a brave little girl’s battle against cancer. The illustrator Christina Irini Arathimos was mentored by Fifi Colston and together they have produced appealing child-focused pictures, full of life and common sense, that show what Petra is going through – but at the same time they’re not frightening or overwhelming.
The printing of the book was funded by the Wellington Hospitals Foundation, and the list of thank-you names on the last page includes family members, friends, and medical professionals. As I said, a labour of love for many people.
The book would be particularly welcome for families with an ill child, but I can also see a firm place for it in hospital libraries, public libraries and primary school libraries.
ISBN 9780994137944 $25.00 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman