Princess Books

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At work, whenever we get new books, there's this game we like to play, which we call "guess-which-staff-member-has-this-book-on-hold." Everyone has their specific type of books (such as vampire books, or graphic novels, or adult fiction with weird titles), and mine, apparently, is anything YA and pink. Apparently, I never realized it, but I have a thing for Princess Books.

So, about a week ago, I went on a Princess Book binge, reading 2 of them at night before I went to sleep, and then waking up the next morning, and reading another one. And so, I was inspired to make a list of the Best of Princess Books.

Oldies but Goodies

Melisande by E. Nesbit

E. Nesbit is probably best known for The Five Children and It and it's sequels, but I've always loved her fairy tales, and this is one of her best. Melisande is a variation on the king-and-queen-forget-to-invite-the-wicked-fairy-to-the-party theme. In this case, the fairy gives baby Melisande the gift of hair that keeps on growing, and growing, and growing. Having had a love/hate relationship with my own long hair for years, I could really relate to Melisande's plight. Plus, this edition has absolutely gorgeous illustrations.

The Princess and the Goblin by George McDonald

Speaking of gorgeous illustrations, this book has some of the best I've ever seen. I read this so long ago, I barely remember the plot, other than the Princess being kidnapped by Goblins, and Curdie rescuing her, but I really remember the feeling of reading it, of just being absolutely enthralled. The story is beautiful, the illustrations are beautiful... and now I really want to read it again.

The Light Princess by George MacDonald
Yet another variation on the curse-placed-at-birth-by-an-evil-fairy theme, this has been another favorite of mine for years. In this case, the curse is that the Princess will have no weight, and therefore, she cannot leave her room, because she would simply float away. This one has very nice illustrations by Maurice Sendak.

The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye
Okay, at this point, I think it goes without saying that these are all my favorites... and possibly that most Princess books are variations on a theme mentioned above... but in this one, the Princess's curse is simply that she is normal, ordinary. She has brown hair and brown eyes, rather than the typical blond hair/blue eye combination that is expected of princesses. And as the youngest of 7 princesses, she feels she doesn't belong, and thus, she runs away. This is the story of her journey.
Sleeping Ugly by Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen has written an amazing number of books, and most of them play with fairy tales in some fashion. In this one, as you can probably tell from the title, she plays with Sleeping Beauty. I just walked over and got this one off the shelf because I had almost completely forgotten the plot, but basically, it's cute, and funny, and they live happily ever after.

New(er) Princess Books

The Frog Princess, Dragon's Breath, Once Upon a Curse, and No Place for Magic by E.D. Baker

This is a very cute series that begins with the story of the frog prince, and then goes off in directions that you would never expect. In the first book, when the princess kisses the frog, instead of turning him back into a human, she turns herself into a frog, and they spend the rest of the book trying to figure out how to turn back into humans. The rest of the books continue in a similar manner, with Emeralda trying to break curses and learning how to use magic. (Once upon a Curse was the first of the 3 books of my Princess Book binge, and I read No Place for Magic a few days later)

Rapunzel: The One with All the Hair by Wendy Mass

I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It's a mass-market Scholastic paperback, so I wasn't really sure if it would be any good (yes, I know, I shouldn't judge a book by its cover, or publisher), but it was hilarious. I was actually lying in bed at midnight, laughing out loud reading this one. In this version of the story of Rapunzel, we get to hear what happened according to both Rapunzel and her prince (Prince Benjamin). Rapunzel is a spoiled teenager, Benjamin is a prince who prefers reading to hunting, and the way the story unfolds is almost believable. Definitely worth reading! (Book 2 of my Princess Book marathon)

The Princess Diaries (and many sequels) by Meg Cabot

The movie is cute and all, but the book is so much better. If possibly, listen to the audio book, read by Anne Hathaway (who plays Mia in the movie). The book is just so smart and funny, I was actually laughing out loud driving to work, listening to this one. (I may have gotten a few strange looks from people in other cars -- but I didn't even notice). Mia is just your average-intelligent-vegetarian-teenager, and all the faux pas she makes when she finds out that she is the princess of Genovia seem real. (They are a little over-the-top sometimes, but since the whole idea is, that's to be expected)

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

Completely original, and very, very cute. Tells the story more from the perspective of the prince (who, having run away from home at a very young age, doesn't even realize that he is a prince), who lives in a cave with a troll. He sees Princess Marigold across the river and starts sending her p-mail by way of a carrier pigeon. Ferris has created a wonderfully real world, and characters who make you want to keep reading. This is one that I can clearly imagine reading to my own children (when I have children -- hopefully in the very far future)

Born to Rule by Kathryn Lasky

Kathryn Lasky has written many, many books for children and young adults, and her Guardians of Ga'hoole series is especially popular (I haven't read those yet, but I will, someday). Born to Rule is the first in a new series about a camp for princesses. It is light and fun and has everything a good Princess Book should, and I will definitely be looking out for the next installment in the series. (Book 3 of my princess book binge)

Really, I could keep going... there are many more wonderful Princess Books out there... maybe I'll add a part 2 sometime;)


Anonymous said...

Also, if it has a pink cover, it's yours.

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