Princess Books

Personally, I refuse to read princess crap to Boogie.  Frankly, even if I didn’t have a next generation feminist to raise, these ‘traditional’ stories drive me potty with sarcastic anger and the few times I’ve relented, I’ve found myself inserting a bit of gender commentary here and there when I can no longer resist the urge.  My Cinderella tends to get back after the ball, steal one of her sister’s dresses and head on out back to the palace – I mean, he doesn’t know where she is, but she sure as hell knows where he is, right?  Don’t hate her for wanting to marry rich, OK?  Hate the game, not the player.  These comments are often much to Boogie’s amusement, but sometimes much to her disgust, so she doesn’t ask me to read them any more.  Phew!

There are, however, one or two princess books I can just about cope with:

Princess Smartypants – Babette Cole: Doesn’t want to get married, runs rings around the suitors her parents set her up with, and turns the prince who finally succeeds at the tasks she gives him into a warty toad.  Which leads to a distinct drop-off in the number of princes up for marrying Smartypants.  And she lives happily ever after.

Princess Pigsty – Cornelia Funke: Unimpressed by the trappings of princess-ness and femininity, Pigsty goes off to live in, well, a pigsty.  Basically.

The Princess and the Wizard – Julia Donaldson: A fairly traditional princess, but at least uses her own smarts to outwit the wicked wizard.

The Princess Knight – Cornelia Funke: My fave I think.  Her father organises a jousting contest with the prize being the princess’s hand in marriage.  She’s outraged, but because of her sheer determination, she’s already trained herself to be the best knight around.  She enters the competition anonymously and wins and tells her father to fuck right off with his marriage plans.  I paraphrase the last bit.  She spoils it a bit for me by marrying in the end (the gardener’s son), but hey, we all fall from the path of feminist righteousness.  No hate here.

I’m fond of these books because I think they do cause Boogie to think a little bit about what they’re saying.  Because they feature princesses, but show that princesses don’t have to follow the ‘swoon and wait for the kiss’ model, they can step out of their path a little bit and succeed by their own lights.  More effective for thinking matter than just trying to ban princesses, methinks.

Now I just need to find a book like this that features someone other than a white (and still normally blonde) princess…

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About MistressofBoogie

Feminist. Loud-mouth. Sometimes those two are linked. Sometimes not. View all posts by MistressofBoogie

6 responses to “Princess Books

  • geekanachronism

    There’s a brunette Princess in ‘Emily and the Dragon’. I can’t think of a single non-white princess off the top of my head. Which is shit, since I’m a librarian and all.

    • mistressofboogie

      Coo, it’s a good job you’re not over here; we’re getting rid of all our libraries. They’re not cost-effective, you see; I mean, reading? What sort of crap is that? And poor people do it?? (excuse me while I have a David Cameron moment – I have a lot of anger to vent). Still, I’ll keep looking for the mythical princess; do let me know if you find anything.

  • Nicole

    wow these all sound great and will be ordering them for my daughter right away! One I love (and read tonight incidentally) is The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas http://www.tonywilson.com.au/books_the_princess.php. It is a wonderful story which acts as an antidote to the many traditional princess stories she insists I read (and which somehow turned up in our house). I do take solace though, in the fact that she is usually most fascinated with the wicked witch/queen/mother of the story.

  • Mistress of Boogie

    In a happy bit of serendipity, the BoogieMeister came back from a shopping trip with The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas, even though I hadn’t mentioned it to him. Not bad, not bad at all.

  • Nicole

    Great – I hope you all like it. I’m awaiting a package in the mail to get some alternative princess stories into my daughter. I’ll report back…

  • Melting Pot My Arse « Adventures in Boogieville

    […] time ago, I lamented the fact that, whilst I’d managed to find several ‘alternative’ princess books […]

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