Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp (text) & Sarah Ogilvie (illustrations)

Once upon a time, in a tower near you,
Lived a sad princess; the Princess Sue.
"Some day," she sighed, "my prince will come,
But I wish he'd move his royal bum."

But when Princess Sue's prince finally does arrive, he's not quite what she had in mind. Find out how the feisty princess escapes the clutches of her twit of a prince in this funny twist on the traditional princess tale.

I spotted this little picture book when I was out and about last week Monday with Sarah - we were doing one of our "hit all the bookshops in the West End walks" - and I just could not stop thinking about it.  Whilst Sarah was wondering which book to buy in Waterstones opposite Trafalgar Square, I sat on the floor in the kids' section re-reading this book over and over.  Then bought it.

I love Princess Sue - she's lived all her life in her tower and she's read all the books you can find about being a princess and about being rescued.  But then Sue's not quite the type of tidy, snooty, princess you'd expect.  When her prince does come for her she's over the moon, convinced that they will be going on grand old adventures together.

Sadly, of course, this is not the case.  The prince, nice enough if you like them dumb and old fashioned, takes her to his castle where he expects her to stay.  But no, says Sue, I want to go out and have adventures with you! Isn't this why you rescued me? No, says the prince.  I went through all these trials to save you and to lock you away again...Sue, like me, was not happy with this.

So she makes friends with a dragon.  And she goes about and has tremendous adventures with the dragon and has the time of her life.  And when the prince tries to tell her off for behaving badly she shrugs and walks away from him to follow her heart to adventure.

This is one of the best and funniest books I've read in ages - charmingly illustrated and deliciously feminist it will appeal to young readers who themselves are tiny rebels.  Or actually, if like me, you're a fan of picture books and enjoy wry humour and poking fun at archetypes.

Highly recommended, for sure.

1 comment:

Jenni said...

This sounds brilliant! I can think of a couple of youngsters who will be getting copies of this for Christmas :D