If you are hiking in Alaska during the summer and come across a stream, it is likely that it won’t take you long before you begin to notice movement within the streams. At first you might just notice a little shimmer here or a splash there. But as you begin to watch and observe, it would not be surprising if you began to notice dozens of salmon working their way upstream. These salmon are amazing creatures returning to their place of origin within the waterways of Alaska’s wilderness. The salmon are sought for food by the families of Alaska. They also are sought by commercial fishermen who are seeking to provide a living for thsemsleves. And this crucial part of Alaska culture is what inspired our next children’s Alaska book, The Salmon Princess.
Overview of The Salmon Princess
The Salmon Princess: An Alaska Cinderella Story is written and illustrated by Mindy Dwyer. It is the Alaskan rendition of the classic Cinderella story. An Alaskan girl named Cinder is forced by her stepmother to clean all the slimy salmon her father and stepbrothers catch. And while she loves salmon, she wants to do more than just clean fish. When the Silver Salmon Festival is announced, Cinder wants to go to that festival more than anything else. But her stepmother will not allow her to go and she has nothing to wear. On the night of the festival, an eagle drops her a beautiful silver dress and she finds a way to get to the festival. There she has a glorious time, but she must return her dress before dawn. When she realizes it is almost dawn, she hurries to return the dress, losing an XtraTuf Boot in the process. As you might assume, she is searched for and found, and a happy ending is discovered.
To go along with this story, the illustrations are whimsical and sweet. They definitely capture my kids’ imagination, and they love pointing out the various details! Jules is very positive that Cinder must be related to Elsa (from Frozen) based on the colors of their dresses and the whimsical look of some of the illustrations!
Glimpses of Alaska Culture
My daughter specifically loves this book, but my boys also truly enjoy it. I have a soft spot for traditional fairy tales adapted to Alaskan lifestyle, so this is a book that makes me smile everytime. When reading The Salmon Princess, I also admit that I LOVE that XtraTuf Boots are incorporated into the story. These boots are considered very fashionable in Alaska, and almost everyone has a pair. All of my kids instantly exclaimed “She wears XtraTufs!” when they read the book. If your child is not an Alaskan, it may be fun to point out the boots to them and explain that it is a very common footwear for Alaskans to wear.
A Fun Alaskan-Styled Fairy Tale
So what is our conclusion about The Salmon Princess? All of my kids and I truly enjoy this book. It is definitely more styled for girls, but I do not see any reason why a boy could not enjoy it, as well (mine do!). While it definitely has similarities to the traditional Cinderella story, it is also unique and won’t bore your kids with the same ol’ same ol’. I highly recommend adding it to your children’s Alaska book collection, or at least seeing if your local library has a copy.
See you next month for our children’s Alaska book review series!