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The Duchess of Whimsy

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  685 ratings  ·  145 reviews
The great New Yorker artist Peter de Seve teams up with the author of bestselling Toy Boat in a slightly outrageous fairy tale. The Duchess of Whimsy is fancy and fussy—and definitely not ordinary—surrounding herself with wild friends, fabulous foods, and fancy dress. The Earl of Norm (ho hum) is completely ordinary, but he adores the Duchess. She ignores him, until the ch ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 29th 2009 by Philomel Books
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  685 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Sep 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Mir by: Abigail A.
Shelves: picture
The de Sèves use a princess (although they are referred to as Duke and Duchess, their fathers are kings, so they are really a prince and princess) to sugarcoat a fairly standard, if worthwhile, message for children: get to know people before you judge them.

The vibrant Duchess has a court of quirky characters who party non-stop. Nothing is too wild, crazy, or original for them, they can never have too much fun and excitement. Poor Norm has a mad pash for the Duchess, but she thinks he's a bore a
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Sep 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa (not getting friends updates) by: Chandra
Well, through the first half of this I was laughing so much I wondered how I could ever read it aloud to children.

This is actually one of the best love stories I’ve ever read. It’s about how two very different people (the “whimsical” and the “normal”) find common ground, and also find that they’re not as different from each other as they’d thought. It’s an entertaining story and it’s not overly message heavy It’s funny and sweet, but not overly sweet. Also, aside from the obvious message, one co
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathryn by: Chandra
4.5 STARS. I've waited eagerly for our library to acquire a copy of this, having been won over by the lovely cover art and cute title. I must say, it was worth the wait!!! It's a wonderful and deeply honest take on the typical castle-based love story. The Earl of Norm is constantly invited to the Duchess of Whimsy's parties because, as her father says, their kingdoms "must get along." But she finds the Earl so very BORING! Meanwhile, he finds her dazzlingly fascinating and exciting and completel ...more
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ann by: Chandra and Kathryn
I loved, loved, LOVED this book!

First of all, let me say that the illustrations are *perfect* and I wanted to peruse each page slowly and intently to catch every little detail!

As for the story - what a gem!! The Duchess of Whimsy is just what her name suggests. She abhors anything normal... so, of course, the Earl of Norm is, unfortunately, just too boring. He, however, is madly in love with the Duchess.

What I loved about this book was that it really was such a wonderful example of how people ar
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I don’t think that every single picture book out there needs to have a moral, but it’s not a terrible idea if they happen to contain stories that instruct just a tad on the side. Children's stories offer every possible morality tale you can imagine too. Don’t steal. Be polite to your baby sister. Don’t eat food you find on the street (unless, apparently, it has fallen from the sky). The thing about The Duchess of Whimsy is that for all its overwhelming beauty and fun, its moral is based in pract ...more
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fairy-Tale Lovers
Known for "her elaborate attire, her uncommon conversation, and her most peculiar pets," the Duchess of Whimsy was always the life of the party. What chance did the Earl of Norm - whose clothing, dog, and conversation were as ordinary as could be - have at winning her heart? Unfortunately, the Earl was desperately in love, and left no stone unturned in his efforts to catch her attention. When his outlandish gestures - bringing a giraffe to one of the Duchess' soirées, composing "sugary poetry" t ...more
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, own
If your child liked Fancy Nancy or Eloise then they will love The Duchess of Whimsy by Randall de Séve. This delight fairytale is a love story, but there is a sweet moral behind it. The Duchess of Whimsy is known throughout the land as the greatest hostess there ever was! Her extravagant soirées are equally matched by the outlandish and stunning costumes that the Duchess of Whimsy adorns. The Duchess of Whimsy is loved by all, especially the Earl of Norm, who is hopelessly in love with her. He p ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, childhood
I really love this book, not only are the illustrations gorgeous but the story is very clever. Whimsy is frivolous, whismical and impulsive but she learns about practicality and normalcy.
Nov 14, 2009 rated it liked it
I think this would be fun to read aloud as a one-one with a child. The illustrations are rich and beautiful, but I don't know how well they would show up from the distance, for a read-aloud to a group of children. I was surprised by the "grown-up" vocabulary used in this book ... words like: soirees, joie de vivre, brocaded, flamboyant, truffle canapes, watercress, quail, glistening, delectable, sumptuous .... the writing has a wonderful candence, and it's wonderful for kids to be exposed to sop ...more
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Every time I flip through this book, I can't help but to think of Myers-Briggs personality types. As I see it, this book is about an ISTJ (the Earl of Norm) who falls in love with an ENFP (the Duchess of Whimsy). Hilarity ensues but ultimately the duo come to realize they have a few things in common and, more importantly, they appreciate and value each other's differences. I think the story is awesome and the illustrations are gorgeous and fitting. My four year old didn't quite "get it" but I th ...more
Oh, I like this. I like the lavishly insouciant colored pencil and watercolor illustrations. I like the fun, fancy Duchess, with her penchant for "elaborate attire" and "uncommon conversation." I like the Earl of Norm, who, although he is an intrinsically rather quiet guy, really enjoys the Duchess's spirit, and tries to spice himself up with fancy clothes and a giraffe. And I like that, in the end, he wins her over with a grilled cheese sandwich, and they find that they have more in common than ...more
Josselin D
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love this traditonal literatul book. This book is about a man that created a sandwich with yellow melted cheese and a lady wanted to take a bite so the man offered her to take a bite... (she fell in love with the sandwich thats how she fell in love with the man.) The book was written from a point of view of a man named, "The Earl Of Norm" My schema with this book is that I've tasted a sandwich with yellow melted cheese in the middle. I want to remember that Soirees means a party. I recomend th ...more
Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love this book of ficcion and fairytale because its funny. This book is a baute Whimsy and Earl. Earl is a sorvent and Whimsy is a kuein.My eshema is that my cousen loves to be a kuein and her brother is her sorvent. Wy do they love ichoder. I recomend this book to my cousen because she think that she is the kuein.
Litzy P
Oct 17, 2011 rated it liked it
My opinion of the book is i like the .This book is Traditional Literature.This book is about A dutchess and an earl who wernt in love but when the earl was eating hes sandwich the dutchess loved the sandwuch and they fell in love .My eschema of the book is i always want to be a princes.My question is why does the king have a long roble.I recommend this book to my frends.
Jacqueline G
Oct 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
I like the book of duchess of whimsy.This book is traditional literature.Is about two people who found in love couse earl tail joke and duchess love his joke.My scema is that i want to be like the authour couse he did the book prity.Why does the king has a long roob.I recommend the book to stephani becauseit is about faritails.
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I reali like this book because I thot that it was cool and funny.Itsabaut a woman falling in love with a man by eating one sandwich thatthe man cooked.I have a schema for this book.It reminds me of the time when my 3rd grade teacher read a book of chrismas.I recomend this bookto my freand,Jose becouse he likes books.
Bianca A
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My opinion of this book is that it was amazing.Its genre is traditinal litature.A quick retelling is that the dad was the king and she wanted to merry the eral by eating one chesse sandwich.My schema of this book is that my aunt merry cause her husband now wanted to merry.My question why did Whymsy merry?I will recomend this book to my friend Ana.
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great story of how opposites attract. Fun story and beautiful pictures made my niece like this book, and I did too. Nice story to give to a married couple, especially if one spouse is more whimsical than the other. This one made me think of my husband and me.
Colby Sharp
Sep 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book, fantasy
I would have to say that I am a lot more Earl of Norm than Duchess of Whimsy. Cool book.
RLL22018_ Delashay
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Known for her extravagant ways the Duchess didn’t find the ordinary Earl the least bit amusing. The Earl would do anything to please the Duchess, change his style, bring gifts , and strange guess to the parties. In an emergency all the suitable men, was busy cooking for the Duchess. The Earl was too ordinary for a complex meal. Love would be found over a grill cheese sandwich and a glass of milk .
Another story with the theme don’t judge a book by its cover. The illustration is soft and whimsica
Kali Erickson
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fab story about two royals who meet because of a sandwich! This story explains that people can often times be different than they appear. This story is a classic "dont judge a book by its cover" tale. The earl of norm loved the duchess, but the duchess didnt look twice at him. The duchess discovers her and the earl of norm have a lot more in common than she thought they did. They lived happily ever after. This book has very vibrant and colorful language! I would use this story for teaching about ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I originally picked up this book because of Peter de Seve's artwork, and that would be enough of a reason. Randall de Seve, Peter's wife, however has a talent all of her own. Hers is quieter, maybe less known talent. In fact, I think you could invert the roles in this book, making Peter the Earl of Whimsy, and Randall the Duchess of Norm, and you would know exactly why this book works so very well. ...more
Loree Harrell
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
The art in this book was gorgeous, but the story was... not sure... over simple / held no surprises or delight beyond the art? It would not have been one of the stories my heart held forever as a child.

I suggest this one is primarily for the young 'uns who want the sound of your voice and pretty pictures over story.
Miss Sarah
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
This longer picture book feature a duchess who doesn't want to make friends with a neighbor because he is boring but she keeps giving him chances because her father says he has too. Will they turn it around? Longer but all my classes sat through it. preschool ...more
Jane Ellen
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Precious story about the Duchess of Whimsy who loves all things extravagant and showy but who finds herself amazed to actually come to like the Earl of Norm. Ordinary people can be quite extraordinary, and sometimes that is the best love story.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Adult characters in a fanciful setting--fairy taleish. The language is more complex than simple. Love this story and illustrations. No dialogue.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cute love story with a wonderful ending.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply extraordinary

Creative love story and colorful illustrations. Cute story of a kind of over the top duchess who needed simple things to be happy.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I liked reading this book as much as looking at the art. The gorgeous drawings are paired with a lovely story about getting to know someone before judging them. Very nice.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Even though I am in a happy relationship, I have issues with children's books that promote one as the best possible ending. Pro grilled cheese, though. ...more
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