When I was growing up, I was given countless books full of fairy tales. I enjoyed the ones about dragons, monsters, ogres, witches, and wizards, but I really did not like the ones about princesses that much because the princesses in the stories were always so helpless and, to my mind, rather pathetic. These days there a quite a few books about princesses who are tough, brave, creative, and resourceful, and I am always on the lookout for princess stories with a twist. I was therefore delighted when the children's publicity manager at Sterling Books contacted me to tell me about Sterling's new princess book. Here is my review of the stunningly beautiful and very unique title.
Illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer
Ages 10 and up
Sterling Books, 2010, 978-1-4027-6677-0
Many of you are experts on princesses. You have read about Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and all those other princesses who fill fairy tale books. You know all about princess fashion sense, and you know that the best way to be sure that a girl is indeed a princess is to ask her sleep on a pile of mattresses that has a pea under the bottom one. In short you are absolutely sure that you know all there is to know about princesses.
Unfortunately, you are wrong. There are lots of princesses stories that you have never even heard of. There are essential princess facts that you don't know. Thankfully you can now read this book to fill the gaps in your princess knowledge. There are wonderful stories about princesses of all kinds throughout the book. Among many others, you will meet Princess Babbling Brooke, whose endless chatter drives everyone around her to distraction. Princes are scared off by her verbosity, and even her parents "avoid her." However, on the battlefield her volley of chatter is very useful. Not only does it drive away "even the oldest of enemies," but it also forces reluctant soldiers back onto the battlefield.
In addition to a very colorful collection of stories, this book is packed with princess facts that you are sure to find intriguing. Did you know for example that the best way to grow a princess is to plant special seeds in the palace garden? Did you know that princesses love to travel, and that many of them get from place to place on elephant back? If you want to know if a girl is a true princess you don't have to use the old pea trick. Instead, there are certain things that princesses do, or don't do, that will help you to be sure. Real princesses always sing in the bath, they rarely take off their crowns, and they never wear socks, “even in the middle of winter.”
For readers who are interested in all things princess, this book is a must. The presentation is truly delightful, and the whimsical and often beautiful illustrations are a joy to look at. Readers can dip into the book at random, and they are sure to find something of interest to suit every moment.
You might like to visit the Secret Lives of Princesses website where there is more information about the book, a portrait gallery, and several games to play.