For young ladies, a princess-themed storytime is always a hit. But for parents (and some unnamed librarians) reading each pink-laced page can be a bit of a saccharine overload. Why not mix up your princess storytimes with these winners? Books reviewed by Christopher A. Brown, Children’s Librarian at Wadsworth Library.
Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple
Jane Yolen and her daughter Heidi Stemple take a look at the modern princess with some fun (and realistic) prose about young ladies. The verse is simple (“Some princesses wear their jewels / while fixing things with power tools”) and each stanza ends with the same refrain (“And her sparkly crown”). It’s a refrain your little princess will be happy to shout as you read the book together. The illustrations by Anne-Sophie Lanquetin are vivid and capture the hectic life of a princess. Throughout the story, you’ll meet princesses who love mud, riding their bikes, building things, and playing sports. These girls can do it all! (While wearing their sparkly crowns, of course.) This is a fun and empowering princess book without all the treacle.
Waking Beauty by Leah Wilcox
Waking Beauty is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty that even boys love to hear again and again. The story follows an overzealous Prince Charming who wants to wake up Beauty, but doesn’t want to listen to the fairies who try tell him how to do it. Instead, Charming uses several different techniques: jumping on her bed; splashing her in the face with water, shooting her out of a cannon – all without success. The rhyming couplets of the story keep leading children to the word “kiss” – a word that Charming keeps avoiding with his exuberance to wake up Beauty. While the illustrations by Lydia Monks are in princess-friendly pinks and purples, the color scheme only make Prince Charming’s crazy antics more humorous to young readers. When the kiss finally happens (it is a fairytale, after all) a final surprise will have kids and adults laughing out loud.
And for more princess book recommendations, check out our booklist created by Free Library of Philadelphia children's librarians, entitled Pretty, Pink Princess Books That Won't Make Parents Puke.