story is told by the half-Genie, half-enchanter Spellspinder, the twin sister of
Bellspinder, one of the book’s principal characters who serves Prince Charming, the
beloved of its central character, the lovely Princess Fiordelisa.
The book’s cover features an illustration that integrates a castle with the transformed
Prince Charming, turned into a bluebird as punishment for not marrying Fiordelisa’s
stepsister who has tricked him into thinking that she is the real princess. Beautiful,
talented, strong, and independent female characters dominate this complex
adventure marked with magic, humor and mystery. It is the stalwart Fiordelisa who
decides she is smart enough and brave enough to rescue her Prince from peril.
Hear Evan Guilford-Blake discuss the
role of female characters in The
In addition to Fiordelisa, Guilford-Blake has created a wonderful palate of characters
with names like Mendacia, Trouty, Caveatta, the King and Queen of Quillberland and
their sons the Princes Mazel and Tov and lest we forget, Bellspinder and Spellspinder.
All the human characters in The Bluebird
Prince are intentionally written with no specific
racial or ethnic identities.
The novel has an introduction and a Once Upon a Time index that defines some of the
magical creatures, folk and fairy tale terms mentioned in the narrative. There are
numerous references to other familiar children’s literary classics like Alice in
Wonderland, The Juniper Tree, the Brothers Grimm, and the land of Oz.
Guilford-Blake says his biggest challenge in writing The Bluebird Prince was keeping
the language and sentence structure short and simple. “You can’t slip into Faulknerian
prose in a young people’s book,” he notes. “Unlike most of my work, this one has a lot
of chapters – 33, plus an afterword and a very helpful index. It’s not at all esoteric.”