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Lillybelle, A Damsel Not in Distress

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When faced with the danger of giants, ogres, and witches, other damsels might quake with fear . . . but not LillyBelle!

At the School for Damsels, LillyBelle enjoys many damsel-in-training classes, like cake baking and vocal training, but the rule that a damsel must be in distress . . . not so much. When she's captured by one villain after another, LillyBelle will need to use her charm and her wit to save herself and prove once and for all that damsels don't have to be in distress--all in time for tea!

32 pages, Hardcover

Published September 8, 2020

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About the author

Joana Pastro

3 books21 followers
For as long as Joana can remember, she wanted to be an artist of some kind, so she became an architect. Once her first child was born, she started dreaming of becoming a children’s book author and set out to make that dream come true. When she isn’t reading, writing or driving her children around, you might find her dancing to Broadway tunes, watching old movies or hanging out with her family. Originally from Brazil, Joana now lives in Florida with her amazing husband, her three extremely creative children and a rambunctious Morkie.

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5 stars
77 (50%)
4 stars
45 (29%)
3 stars
23 (15%)
2 stars
6 (3%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 63 reviews
Profile Image for Erin Buhr.
Author 5 books31 followers
October 21, 2020
Lilly Belle is my kind of Damsel. I love how this intertwines fairy tales with girl power. LillyBelle is a Damsel in training and her teacher instructs them to never escape if they are kidnapped. LillyBelle is not about to wait for a knight to come along. She thinks her way out of being captured by a witch, ogre, and a giant. The plot moves quickly, the illustrations are amusing, and LillyBelle is a fun character to root for throughout. Good fun for fans of fairy tales.
Profile Image for Elisa Boxer.
Author 8 books18 followers
January 22, 2021
What an uplifting and hilarious fairy tale about a fearless female! An instant girl-power classic. The voice is strong and memorable; the illustrations are fun and bold. I enjoyed every moment of this book. LillyBelle's refusal to be a victim will inspire young readers to know their strength and take action to rescue themselves.
Profile Image for Loptimus06 .
1 review
October 18, 2020
I loved this book. Throughout my reading of this book, I enjoyed every moment from beginning to end. This is a book for all ages to enjoy, I know I did. If you like amazing books, then this book is most definitely for you. 5/5
Profile Image for BookTrib.com .
1,462 reviews131 followers
October 16, 2020
At a time where issues of gendered societal roles and biases in education are being recognized and discussed, children are noticing the shift in conversation. LILLYBELLE: A DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS shows a world where a young girl rises against expectations and is able to change the rules to create a freer future for herself and her peers. With witty humor and a lot of heart, this book encourages children to take control of their own destiny and reminds them to never let anyone put limits on what young girls are capable of.

Read our full review here:
Profile Image for Sophia Gholz.
Author 7 books41 followers
January 24, 2021
Fun and engaging, LillyBelle’s adventure will be one kids want to read again and again. This book is packed with both humor and heart, and will make a great addition to any home, classroom or library.
Profile Image for Nadine in NY Jones.
2,704 reviews207 followers
May 10, 2021
This is such a cute concept and I thought it was going to be such a cute book but instead it was very much meh. The art is meh. The words are meh. The repetition is meh. The characters are meh. The entire book is just meh. I feel like this was churned out by an AI. There's no heart in it.
Profile Image for Colleen.
Author 2 books37 followers
October 11, 2020
Lillybelle is a 21st century damsel who refuses to wait to be rescued—like a proper damsel should. Instead, she uses her unique talents to wiggle her way out of one dicey situation after another and makes a few new friends in the process. This book provides young children of all genders a terrific role model. We could all use a little more Lillybelle in our lives!
Profile Image for Judy Sobanski.
20 reviews2 followers
January 13, 2021
A wonderful twist on the idea of a female needing to be rescued. Joana Pastro's text offers a strong female character in LillyBelle as she rescues herself from several dire situations. Fun language with some repeating phrases will clue kids in that LillyBelle is in trouble and makes this a fun read aloud. Another important note is that not only does LillyBelle stop certain characters from potentially harming her, she also helps them to find their own positive qualities and talents. A good example of working together—an important lesson for many to learn these days. The illustrations are colorful and engaging, too!
Profile Image for Carrie Finison.
Author 4 books63 followers
October 5, 2020
This is a refreshing story about a spunky damsel named Lillybelle who is most definitely NOT in distress, when faced with imminent peril from a witch, a giant, and an ogre. Instead of waiting to be rescued, Lillybelle uses her finely-honed damselling skills to rescue herself, in a fun twist on the old fairy tale narrative. Lively language that's full of fun adds to the sprightly feel of the story that entertains from beginning to end.
Profile Image for Debra Shumaker.
Author 3 books15 followers
October 22, 2020
I love this book! LillyBelle is the ultimate role model for girls. LillyBelle loves damsel school—the baking, the singing, the tea parties—until she is taught that damsels must wait to be rescued. She cannot and will not agree with that. And when she is captured by a witch, giant, and ogre, she uses her own knowledge and power to rescue herself. This book shows that you can love "frilly" things and STILL be independent and self-empowered.

A great read. And the illustrations are so much fun!
Profile Image for Viviane Elbee.
Author 2 books48 followers
October 23, 2020
I love this picture book about a spunky girl named LillyBelle, who attends Lady Frilly's school for Damsels. LillyBelle loves most everything about her school EXCEPT she disagrees when her teacher says that Damsels in Distress must not save themselves when faced with danger. She vows to be the damsel who is not in distress.
It's such a cute story. Kids will love it!
Profile Image for Mary Copp.
31 reviews
January 6, 2021
YAY for LillyBelle – a confident and spunky damsel who may at times be in distress – and who wouldn’t be meeting a witch, a giant and an ogre – but will not run or be rescued. Instead, she relies on her wits, her calm and her know-how to avoid capture, even making new friends on the way! This is a fun and well-told story by Pastro, spring-boarding from the well-known fairy tale, with bright and bold illustrations by Ortiz. Loved this empowering book!
Profile Image for Dedra Davis.
65 reviews1 follower
November 16, 2021
Lillybelle is a must-read for all girls, and boys, who want to be in control of their own fairytale adventure! Such a delight for Lillybelle to be so bright and brave! I love this book!
6,806 reviews25 followers
September 16, 2020
I received an electronic ARC from Boyds Mill Press through Edelweiss+.
Lillybelle is at school to learn about being a damsel. She pays attention and practices the lessons until they get to the Damsel in Distress information. That is not for her. When she encounters a witch, a giant and then an ogre, she engages in conversation with them and teaches them to fulfill their own needs.
Don't miss the background details in the illustrations that offer further information about what is happening along with the text. Readers will see the humor in the artwork and the writing.
Profile Image for Candy Wellins.
Author 4 books15 followers
December 18, 2020
Im a sucker for a good #girlpower #picturebook and LillyBelle: A Damsel Not in Distress by #debutauthor @joanapastro is such a book. Similar to the Paper Bag Princess, this book triumphs because it reminds us that females are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and saving the day. The special twist in this story is that LillyBelle doesn’t do it with physical strength or brute force, but with life skills and impeccable manners. I highly recommend this one for any young reader.
Profile Image for Larissa Marantz.
Author 16 books6 followers
December 13, 2020
Turning the typical fairy tale story on its head, LILYBELLE, A DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS is a fun and empowering story that shows how a girl bucks convention and stays true to herself. Joanna Pastro's debut picture book is a fun and engaging read aloud for young readers that features dramatic page turns and stylistic renderings from illustrator Jhon Ortiz. Lillybelle is a clever and quick witted character whose choices will prove to any reader that it's ok to be empowered when you are being yourself.
Author 6 books145 followers
November 23, 2020
This book is officially a Fave. I am a huge fan of modern fairy retellings, and this means I'm super critical, cranky, and prepared to roll me eyes at the lack of a fresh take. Joana Pastro's book does all the things! We've got ourselves a self-assured and spirited protagonist who thinks out-of-the-box at the get go. Lillybelle's creativity is transformative; no activity is rote or ordinary with her around. In fact, she is a young activist in disguise and this book is really about her changing her world for the better than her own character arc. Children will adore the suspense of each evil villain attempting to do her in and what Lily does to outwit them. Teachers might chat about the fact that we cannot always use kindness to change bullies, but in the context of a fairy tale, the character arcs of the villains are touching and humorous. The character that is transformed the most by Lilly Belle's individuality and heroism--you'll have to wait until the end to find out who it is--is what makes this book super special because LilyBelle changes the system. Loved this! Can't wait for more works of art by Joana Pastro!
Profile Image for Alexandra Alessandri.
Author 5 books76 followers
May 29, 2020
The digital arc of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ website in exchange for an honest review.

Book's description: At the School for Damsels, LillyBelle enjoys many damsel-in-training classes, like cake baking and vocal training, but the rule that a damsel must be in distress . . . not so much. When she's captured by one villain after another, LillyBelle will need to use her charm and her wit to save herself and prove once and for all that damsels don't have to be in distress--all in time for tea!

LillyBelle is not like other damsels--she is absolutely NOT in distress and refuses to be like the other girls! I absolutely adored this charming, humorous story about a fierce female protagonist who adamantly refuses to follow the cookie-cutter role set out for her. LILLYBELLE is a fun read aloud book with vivid, colorful illustrations. Kids will love anticipating what will happen to LillyBelle as she comes face to face with witches, giants, and ogres.
Profile Image for Abi Cushman.
Author 3 books66 followers
October 4, 2020
Featuring a lovable and very spunky heroine, LILLYBELLE is a wonderfully entertaining, modern take on the kind of fairytales we all grew up with.

Pastro uses really nice lyrical language throughout the story and provides fun refrains that kids will love to shout out like "... but not LillyBelle." and "Too-da-loo!" Ortiz's art is perfect for a modernized fairytale. The expressions on the characters have broad commercial appeal, but he mixes that with flattened shapes, rich textures, and a selective color palette. I also appreciate that Lillybelle doesn't have the stereotypical "princess look" that is prevalent in Disney movies.

LILLYBELLE is empowering, funny, and so much fun to read aloud. Five stars.
Profile Image for Isabella Kung.
Author 8 books24 followers
November 30, 2020
I adore our main protagonist Lillybelle! She is a charming, spunky, and bright damsel, who refuses to be in distress. Why should she wait to be rescued when she is totally capable of escaping herself?
I love how she celebrates being both traditionally feminine skills as well as being non-traditionally NOT in distress, and it is her skills plus her quick wits that helps her escape all the kidnappings. Furthermore, she does not only escape, she helps each kidnapper think of new non-violent solutions to their problems. Lillybelle is a damsel who saves herself and helps others! Text by Joana Pastro is a joy to read out loud, complimented by lovely illustrations from Jhon Oritz, I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Sandy Brehl.
Author 7 books128 followers
November 12, 2020
There is plenty to like about this twist on a traditional "fairtale-young-lady" in training. Miss Lillybelle enjoys many of the traditional practices of being a damsel, but she will NOT settle for having someonelse rescue her. After several situations in which she reduces herself, thank you very much, she clarifies to the adults what, exactly, is right a out this. The satisfying circle return to her classroom with switch roles yet again and teach the teacher a bit about damsels will be met with cheering girls, and possibly even some boys.
There's a lot less pressure in life when we can all grow into our own agency, and this lively little book is a fine place to start.
33 reviews1 follower
November 19, 2020
Lillybelle is a princess who loves all the things she learns at princess school, EXCEPT she will have none of the helplessness taught in the class entitled Damsel In Distress 101. Instead, she turns the damsel in distress trope on its head in a deliciously funny way, befriending witches, giants, and ogres, almost as if the entire story were a parody of a fairy tale. Here a girl can have her tea parties and go ahead and invite the ogres to join her. Besides being a good book for talking about and countering narratives in older princess stories, this book will make kids laugh and feel empowered to solve their own problems.
Profile Image for Kirsten.
Author 30 books59 followers
July 28, 2020
In this fabulous twist on traditional fairytales, LillyBelle refuses to wait for rescue, and instead takes matters into her own hands. Does she dash giants and thrash witches? Of course not! She befriends each and every one using all her Damsel School skills (except for the part where she was supposed to wait in terror for rescue). This fun book encourages children to pluck up their courage and solve their own problems, with an added takeaway that what might LOOK scary just might be not so scary at all.
Profile Image for Melanie Ellsworth.
Author 3 books8 followers
August 19, 2020
LillyBelle is a damsel who doesn’t follow the rules and refuses to be distressed when captured by a witch, a giant, and an ogre. Children will be impressed and amused by how she uses her wits and polite manners to rescue herself from each situation. LillyBelle’s dynamic personality matches well with the colorful, energetic illustrations. Her confidence, respectful treatment of others, and willingness to carve out her own path make her a relatable character and a great role model for readers. A fun read that overturns traditional princess stereotypes!
Profile Image for Kelly Carey.
Author 1 book41 followers
July 8, 2020
LillyBelle is a delicious and delightful book that can be enjoyed daily – like tea parties! A celebration of a feisty damsel, who bucks stereotypes and forges her own take-charge way. LillyBelle is clearly a damsel not in distress! Why should she be? With hilarious illustrations that put the traditional fairy tale scenes on their heads, LillyBelle is sure to become queen of the castle and king of the bookshelf!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 63 reviews

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