A Book of Princesses; The Doubleday Book of Princess Stories
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The Doubleday Book of Princess Stories
Illustrated by Lizzie Sanders
‘I think the stories are fantastic’ wrote my eight-year-old tester of The Doubleday Book of Princess Stories , a collection of ten ‘original and familiar stories’. The collection includes traditional tales such as ‘East of the Sun, West of the Moon’,’Sumio Who Fell from the Moon’ and ‘Mermaid Princess’ alongside specially written tales set in a variety of times. The illustrations in crayon and coloured pencil are appropriate and atmospheric, complementing the text well. As with the Orion Book of Princesses , I missed the weight of a more traditional style of retelling, but especially for children reading these for themselves, this is a clearly written alternative.
‘Five favourite princess stories’ are presented in A Book of Princesses , retold and illustrated ‘in my own way, for the children of today’ as Gardner puts it. She brings a freshness of style to the five well-known tales, told in gently colloquial language. To my ear this tends to take away some of the mystery and magic intrinsic to fairy tales by explaining too much – the point of such traditional tales being to transport beyond the mundane and explicable while still allowing us to experience the ‘changes and challenges’ the principal characters live through. ‘Keep your sense of wonder, child, and don’t be so literal’ as Mary Norton has it!
The illustrations are attractive – though the princesses sometimes tend to the simperingly pretty – and are arranged imaginatively on well designed and decorative pages.