I’ve fought the princessification of my girls valiantly, as a mama who wants her girls to admire heroes who don’t wait around for some dumb prince to find their happiness. As you may guess, it didn’t work; they love princess everything, though I try to keep all the tiaras, gowns and storybooks confined to their very-pink bedroom.
[see the giveaway after the jump]
If ever a princess book was made to appeal to grown-ups as well as their offspring, this is it. Originally written in French, Philippe Lechermeier’s text is sophisticated, witty, and laugh-out-loud outrageous at times. The Secret Lives of Princesses is not so much a story book as a collection of bios on a bunch of princesses who have been “hidden” until now (hence the “secret lives” in the title).
Once you get to meet these princesses, it’s pretty clear why no Disney movie has been made of them, since they most certainly break the mold. Among the crowd: The Eco Princess who has birds living in her hair and demands her prince must not be afraid of heights, lightning or beetles. And then there is Prince S, the brother who swapped places with his royal sister and continues to live in disguise, even with facial hair.
The illustrations by Rebecca Dautremer are to-die-for gorgeous, with loads of detail and humor. Do not sit down and look at this book before making dinner or the whole family will go hungry. And I have to stop myself from ripping out pages to frame, so perfect are some of the illustrations for a child’s bedroom.
While preschoolers will love to flip the pages and may understand some of the text, this book is a bit dense and slyly humorous for a little one. But, my nine-year-old who swears she’s no longer “into” princesses has been found hiding under her covers at night with a flashlight, meeting all the secret princesses. -Christina
Congratulations to Janice L, lucky winner of a copy of The Secret Lives of Princesses!
Christina Refford is a longtime CMP contributor turned Senior Associate Editor. She's based in MA, and a cool mom of 3 (including two college students!) who all eat entirely different foods, so yay. She loves running, social media, cooking, decluttering, family travel, animals, avoiding scary movies, and coffee. Not at all in that order.
You may also want to check out The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch. It’s been called the “feminist’s manifesto in children’s book form.” I just bought it for my son.
Yes, we love that book as well! Check out our review from ’08:
Thanks so much for the comment!
I want it! I also like Princess Picky who refuses to eat her vegetables and despite every attempt to bribe her, ends up making her own choice:
Oddly enough, I got this tweet right before reading this review:
sesamestreet Abby: Rosita and I like to play princess, but that doesn’t mean we’re waiting for a prince to rescue us! It just means we like to dress up!
I rasied a Princess, all my men friends called her that..But she grew up and had two little boys, so for her family that is where the Princeses ended!!
Oh we so need this! 🙂
My daughter would LOVE this book!
would love to win
If you have an older girl then the “Ordinary Princess” is a GREAT book. She has 9 perfect sisters, but she “cursed” with being ordinary and yet by the end of the book her personality, wit, and intelligence save the day!
Is there a link to buy the original French version?
Nevermind! Found it: http://www.amazon.com/Princesses-Oubliees-Inconnues-Gautier-Languereau-Edition/dp/2013929218/ref=lp_B003VOIWIY_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1335972983&sr=1-13