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Princess books you'll actually want your daughter to read

Six Books for Princesses

I’m totally smitten with the reading list Janssen has curated for us this week.  Whether you’re pro-princess or princess averse, we all want princesses with qualities our kids can look up to!

Question of the Day

Has your daughter gone through a princess phase?  If so at what age did it strike and how long did it last?

If you have a little girl, you probably can’t avoid the princess scene altogether. Even if you don’t introduce your child yourself to the world of ball gowns, glass slippers, and bossing subjects around, someone is certain to gift them a princess dress, show them a princess movie, or invite them to a princess party.

The good news is that not all princesses are created equal, and this is just as true in the picture book section as it is elsewhere. There certainly are some books that you might hesitate to share with your child, but there are lots that are quite wonderful and demonstrate the kinds of qualities I’d be more than delighted to see my daughters develop.

These six picture books are all ones that I’m perfectly comfortable sharing with my two little girls:

  1. Part-Time Princess by Deborah Underwood and Cambria Evans. During the day, this little girl leads an ordinary life, but at night, she’s off to act as princess, where she invites a dragon to tea, tames the trolls (turns out they just love to dance and want to be invited to the ball!), and takes a bath with dolphins. I love this fun, sweet story.
  2. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko. This classic princess story is still delightful, twenty-five years after it was published, about a princess who, after her fiance is captured by a dragon, seeks out the dragon and defeats him.
  3. Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O’Malley, Carol Heyer and Scott Goto. A boy and a girl are supposed to tell a story together, but they’re having a hard time agreeing on how it should go. Will it be princesses? Giants? The two eventually work it out, with a story that will make you laugh on every page. I love this one, especially with the two very contrasting illustration styles that accompany the story.
  4. Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer and Josee Masse. This is one of my favorite books – it is so clever and fun you’ll find yourself looking at it without your kids! Each set of poems in this book tells a fairy tale, but from two different points of view. Cinderella, for instance, gets her poem, followed immediately by the disgruntled view of the stepsisters. What really sets this book apart is that each set of poems uses EXACTLY the same words, but the second poem uses those words backwards. It’s almost like magic to see how well this works (if you’re having a hard time picturing this, you can check out an example on my blog).
  5. The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene. Hilariously pulling in details from famous fairy tales, this story follows the uproar that occurs after the new baby princess is accidentally switched with the farmer’s new baby piglet. The princess grows up happily on the farm, but the piglet doesn’t fare quite so well in the castle. . . .
  6. Lovabye Dragon by Barbara Joosse and Randy Cecil. This is a perfect bedtime story with a little princess who dreams of having a dragon for a friend. A lonely dragon follows the trail of princess tears back to her castle and the two become fast friends. The illustrations are soft and sweet, just right for closing out a busy day.

Do you have any favorite princess stories?


Has your daughter gone through a princess phase?  If so at what age did it strike and how long did it last?



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Janssen is a former librarian and avid reader who is always maxing out her library card. She now stays at home with her two-year-old daughter (with another girl on the way) and blogs about books for readers of all ages, her favorite recipes, and parenting adventures at Everyday Reading.