Monday, June 1, 2015
MMGM: The Ordinary Princess
What I loved, too, was that the author, M.M. Kaye, was inspired to write this after realizing that the heroines of most fairy tales did not look like her and were too perfect. With that background alone, I’m in.
Here is the synopsis (from Amazon):
Along with Wit, Charm, Health, and Courage, Princess Amy of Phantasmorania receives a special fairy christening gift: Ordinariness. Unlike her six beautiful sisters, she has brown hair and freckles, and would rather have adventures than play the harp, embroider tapestries . . . or become a Queen. When her royal parents try to marry her off, Amy runs away and, because she's so ordinary, easily becomes the fourteenth assistant kitchen maid at a neighboring palace. And there . . . much to everyone's surprise . . . she meets a prince just as ordinary (and special) as she is!
What I loved:
1. An interesting “bad” fairy. Crustacea is interesting enough with her seashell hat and seaweed robe. But it gets even better when, miffed by being stuck in traffic on the way to Amy’s christening, she curses the baby princess with being ordinary. Of course, the curse is really a gift.
2. A celebration of ordinary. From Amy crying like a real baby to her experiences with true friendship and work (both things princes and princesses usually miss out on)—being ordinary has a lot of benefits. I think most kids (and adults) will relate to this.
3. Humor. The best fairy tales, like Gail Carson Levine’s work, have a splash of humor. The Ordinary Princess has it in spades. I loved that it made fun of the genre and didn’t take itself too seriously—all points in my book.
4. Art by the author. Make sure you get the original copy of the book, so you can enjoy the extraordinary illustrations of this author/illustrator. (The cover here is from the original edition.)
5. A light read with substance. Although I read this very short book in a few hours, it is not complete fluff. I loved what it said about beauty and the hidden benefits of being the kind of person most people overlook.
My favorite quote: “...for though she was ordinary, she possessed health, wit, courage, charm, and cheerfulness. But because she was not beautiful, no one ever seemed to notice these other qualities, which is so often the way of the world.”
This would appeal to fans of Gail Carson Levine, Laura Amy Schlitz, and Anna Staniszewski. I read it recently while I was at the beach—it’s a perfect light read for summer!
Have you read any enchanting fantasies lately?
If you're looking for Marvelous Middle Grade suggestions, check out Shannon Messenger's blog.