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Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite
Princess Journee is a little mouse with a big mission. In The Pond of Reflection (Pearls of Wisdom Series Book 1), written by Catherine Ann Russell and illustrated by Brooke Connor, the princess lives with her royal father. He abhors shallowness and has forbidden mirrors in the peaceful kingdom so that no one will be self-conscious about their appearance. The internal person, the “inside-out,” is of greater importance. But Journee doesn’t know what she looks like and feels she doesn't know enough about herself even though she is aware that the external does not define her. For her birthday, she goes on a quest, traveling through the kingdom with three friends in search of the Pond of Reflection, which can serve as a mirror since the kingdom has none.
With a pristinely flowing narrative and quirky characterization, The Pond of Reflection (Pearls of Wisdom Series Book 1) has a lot of charismatic strength, and the story never falters. A moral fable at its finest, it springboards off a Bible verse, Proverbs 27:19, to build a winsome story about finding true self-respect. It's a beautiful, high-quality fantasy story about a set of four close-knit animal friends who quietly meander through an enchanted countryside and discover life together. A splendid yet understated interior of illustrations and decorative page design makes this book perfect for little readers to savor and read over and over. Catherine Ann Russell’s book is the sort of story I loved to read as a child and I'm sure many young people today will enjoy it too because it depicts the world of children, what they need, and what preoccupies them so sympathetically.