The would-be princess of Arazeen

This week I’ve been working on some illustrations to go with a fun scene in Kendra Kandlestar and the Search for Arazeen. Kendra is thought to be a princess, so is forced to give up her humble wizard’s robes for some elegant gowns and a new hair style.

Here are the illustrations, along with an excerpt of the text . . .


There is a great deal of pomp and ceremony that comes with dining with a king. Kendra herself had little experience with such affairs, and so it was with great surprise that she found herself whisked away that afternoon by a retinue of royal attendants. Within their clutches, she was measured, mapped, and made up—as if she was nothing more than a lifeless model in need of beautification.

“We’ll have to do something about this wretched hair,” scowled the head attendant. Her name was Fayda and if she was stingy with her smiles, she was less so with her opinions.

“I’m keeping my braids,” Kendra proclaimed, jerking away from Fayda’s hands, only to bump into the prickles of a hedgehog who was busily measuring her waist.

“Arms out, Princess Star,” the hedgehog fussed. “Your gown must fit perfectly.”

“Why can’t I just wear my robe?” Kendra wondered.

“Your highness, if you could focus,” Fayda sighed. “We really must fix your hair.”

“The braids stay,” Kendra insisted.

“The king will not like it,” Fayda scorned, but she said nothing further on the subject.

In two hours, the ordeal was over and Kendra was finally pushed before a tall mirror. She gasped when she saw her reflection; indeed, she could hardly recognize the girl staring back at her. She was dressed in a dazzling patterned crown that curved out like a giant bell (How am I going to walk in this thing? she wondered). As for her hair, this was now stacked in a high nest of braids, while two longer plaits hung on either side of her face.


Oh, by the way . . . Uncle Griffinskitch doesn’t escape refinement either in this part of the book. Here he is, preened and adorned with bows. He looks none too happy about it.

I’ve always though Uncle Griffinskitch was a little bit like the Shaggy Man in The Road to Oz, but this particular version of my grumpy old wizard reminds me more of the Braided Man, who appeared in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.


The Bearded Man and Dorothy by John R. Neil


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