Like many little girls, my daughter fell into the princess craze around the time she was four-years-old. I tried to minimize how many princess-themed books and toys came into our house, but the phenomenon is difficult to avoid. Despite my best attempts, our home was soon taken over by all things pink and sparkly, from gowns and tiaras to toy castles and dolls in horse-drawn carriages.
Don’t Kiss the Frog: Princess Stories with Attitude, edited by Fiona Waters, is a sassy antidote to the stereotypical beautiful princess waiting for her prince. At first glance, it does look like a run-of the-mill collection of traditional tales, but each of the six stories has a twist.
Waters explains in the book’s introduction that the writers “have their tongues very firmly in their cheeks, and nothing is more delightful for young readers than a whiff of anarchy. Classic fairy tales…are central to a child’s literary heritage, but these princess tales take a different approach. A good helping of disrespect has produced a collection of terrific, lively stories.”
There is The Clumsy Princess, who struggles to be graceful, but learns her true strength is in jousting with knights. In The Princess Exchange, Princess Jane realizes it’s more fun to watch cartoons and eat ice cream than to be a conventional royal that smiles and waves. There is an athletic princess, and a princess who wants to choose her own Prince Charming. My personal favourite is Double Dragons: a king promises his daughter to whomever can slay a fire-breathing dragon, but Princess Greta takes care of the fierce dragon on her own.
There were many nights when Don’t Kiss the Frog was Kate's choice for bedtime reading, and she still has a fondness for it. “I remember this!" she exclaimed, picking it up off of my desk the other day. "It used to be my favourite book."
With its spunky tone, colourful illustrations, and playful fonts, this is a fun collection of stories to read aloud. It has enough princesses to entice any little girl obsessed with Aurora or Belle, and enough humour for parents that may be overwhelmed by all things princess. Pick up this book for a bit of a reprieve!
Two kids, two cats, and a house full of books. We share our favourite picks for young readers.