Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

not your everyday princess books...

"Whatever comes," she said, "cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it."     -Sarah Crew (A LITTLE PRINCESS)

I hope you won't limit your kids' experiences with Princesses strictly to the popular Disney versions.  Girls ages 4-8 will also love these beautifully illustrated picture books about these rather unconventional princesses who are courageous, innocent, loyal, and resourceful ...

THE APPLE PIP PRINCESS by Jane Ray. This is the story of a kingdom that was once full of laughter, happiness, trees, and birdsong. But when the queen dies, it becomes quiet and barren, and everyone is filled with sadness. What will make the kingdom come to life again? Can Serenity, the youngest of three princesses, bring hope and bloom back to her kingdom with a single apple pip — a precious seed left to her by her mother? This original fairy tale is brought to life and exquisitely illustrated by the internationally renowned Jane Ray.

THE PAPER PRINCESS by Elisa Kleven. A little girl draws and cuts out a picture of a princess. When the paper doll is blown away by a gust of wind, she travels far and wide and finally... ends up with her own little girl again. Kleven has taken this simple story and given it style and heart. The events, some of which are either purely fanciful or highly unlikely, all seem authentic. Giving an inanimate object a believable personality is not an easy feat, and the author does a fine job of it. Her graceful phrases add a lyrical air, and emotions are described with a light and delicate touch. Her multimedium collages have never looked fresher or more interesting. The world she creates is not necessarily free from danger or sadness, yet it is predominantly full of beauty and sunlight. All the elements of the visual arts-texture, pattern, shape, color, and line-come alive in her skillful hands. The best book yet from this talented author/illustrator, and one that children will love. - School Library Journal

THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA by Lauren Child.  School Library Journal: Child has expanded Andersen's tale from a one-page gem into a humorous picture book that will delight the whole family. Color photographs of a cleverly designed, three-dimensional miniature world of dolls reveal wonderful details. The mattresses–all 12 of them–are covered in multi-patterned cloth, tables and cupboards display real china plates, and a mirror reflects a princess sitting in her parlor. The prince says that he wanted to marry for love. In an aside, Child comments, He was just that kind of romantic boy. The prince now tells his parents: I would gladly marry tomorrow but…she must be more mesmerizing than the moon and I must find her more fascinating than all the stars in the sky. And there must be a certain…something about her. The loving king and queen throw a royal ball so that their son can meet all the eligible princesses; unfortunately, not one fills the bill. He then decides to travel far and wide to look for a real princess. It is not until he comes home that she appears at his door. We all know what happens then.

THE MAGIC HILL by A.A. Milne, illustrations by Isabell Bodor Brown.  I was so excited to discover a fairy tale written by A.A. Milne! School Library Journal says of this original tale, written in 1925: Neither complex nor overtly moral, it delivers its own sweet vision of childhood where play is as pleasant as a freshly picked flower. At her christening, Princess Daffodil's parents anxiously await a gift to be bestowed upon her by the Fairy Mumruffin. Will it be Beauty, Wisdom, or Goodness? No, it is that flowers will grow wherever their daughter goes. Upon the child's first birthday, the King returns from hunting to find flowers blooming on his pathways. He decrees that the Princess must be carried across all walkways and can play only in the flowerbeds. The forlorn child finds that the opposite is true for the other children, who are not allowed in the beds. Thus, when the Doctor finds her sorely in need of exercise, he advises, "although she is a Princess, she must do what other little girls do." The Queen finds a solution: a lovely little hill where the child can romp all day and the country children pick flowers come evening.


  1. I love the collage, fabric or gilted frame look in Lauren Child's books...we got "Princess and the Pea" from the library. As to your previous post, I am a book person...not merely an e-reader. Our library is very small but perfect and I hope it never is closed due to budget cuts (has been threatened)!

  2. A.A. Milne's princess story seems very sweet and a most original tale! I'd never heard of it, but what a creative story.

  3. Martha - Oh dear, that would be so sad. I know lots of states and counties are making budget cuts right now. :(
    Mary - You would definitely have loved Princess Daffodil when you were a little girl. :) Too bad it wasn't out then!