Picturing the Twelve Dancing Princesses

Have you ever stumbled on something and wondered why you didn’t know about it twenty years ago?  That’s how I feel about Kinuko Craft.  She did the cover for Wildwood Dancing, and since seeing that, a friend and I have both become a little obsessed with her art.  And apparently she’s been doing covers and illustrations for years!  How did I not discover this sooner?

Most recently, I tracked down a beautiful picture book, The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Marianna Meyer and illustrated by Kinuko Craft.  I’ve talked about the dancing princesses a lot in various other retellings, and this one doesn’t offer a lot that’s new in the story itself.  A slight twist on a few elements, but mostly a straight-forward retelling.  But the pictures are lovely.  Apparently this is just my week for talking about illustrations!

Almost every alternate page is a full-page illustration, with illustrated sidebars on the text pages.  The detail and intricacy of the art is wonderful.  Some pictures are relatively simple, such as a man working in a field (although even that has an entire sweeping landscape behind him).  Others are a swirl of faces and dresses, showing all twelve princesses.  One dark picture shows the mysterious castle on the far side of the magic lake; another is riot of color in a flower garden.

The hero is drawn a little cherubic for my taste, but the princesses and their dresses are beautiful.  I think my two favorite pictures are when the hero is approaching the castle, showing the stretch of mountains and water before him, and a picture showing dozens of couples dancing in a vast hall lit by chandeliers.

But why take my word on what they look like?  Better to just put up a few pictures!


Illustrator’s Site: http://www.kycraft.com/

4 thoughts on “Picturing the Twelve Dancing Princesses

  1. In Fort Dodge, Iowa, where I used to live, there was a library. They had at least two of Kinuko Craft’s books, and I loved them. Funny thing is, just a week or two ago I remembered about her, and searched around (I couldn’t remember her name) and found her paintings again. I absolutely love them!

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