I just read The Princess Rules by Philippa Gregory, and seriously, I can't remember the last time a book made me laugh outloud so much! It started with a little internal chuckle over the opening line:
Once upon a time (that means I don't know when, but it wasn't that long ago)...
then a snort over the careless fairytale parents who "messed up the christening by inviting everyone, so that nobody was offended," and carelessly neglected to forbid their daughter from spinning. By the time I got to the bit about the queen completely failing to die and leave her daughter to a cruel stepmother, I was in fits!
The Princess Rules is a wonderfully subversive fairytale story, about Florizella, a princess who refuses to follow The Rules. Especially the rule about marrying a prince and living happily ever after (no one ever explains how to do that, or how to do it forever). Instead of wearing beautiful dresses, and doing nothing all day, Princess Florizella likes to wear sensible clothes, eat plenty of whatever she likes, and think big thoughts. She climbs out her window rather than bothering with doors and the portcullis. She keeps a spare sword in her wardrobe, in the space that's meant for long dresses. She refuses to be rescued, and she most definitely does things HER way.
Because a princess is just a prince with more S's. And "S" stands for things like Sass, Science, Sincerity, Scepticism, and Swordsmanship.
Don't you love it?
I've been a fan of Philippa Gregory ever since I was given a copy of The Other Boleyn Girl when I went off on maternity leave to have Miss Missy. In fact, Miss Missy tells me that Philippa Gregory was the first author she knew the name of, because she and Mr K often bought me books for my birthday present. So, when she saw the book lying around, she wanted to read it as well. She loved it, too! Of course she loved the excitement, fun, and silliness of the story, who wouldn't? But she also liked it because it isn't babyish, even though it's a kids' book. She liked that it used ordinary sentences and vocabulary, rather than "writing down" to little kids, like some authors do. She thought she'd have loved reading it at seven as much as she loved it at 17. "I think everyone would love it!"
If you'd like to read more fun and exciting books about girls who do things their way, I've put together a list about some wonderfully fiesty princesses.
Here are some wonderful stories about princesses who did not follow the rules! Girls who refused to sit around waiting for prince charming to rescue them, and got down and did it themselves instead.
This book is Stacy Gregg at her best! It is based on the true story of Princess Haya of Jordan, and how she overcame grief with the help of her orphaned foal.
Babette Cole's Princess Smartypants is a wonderful character who always stands up for what she believes in. In this book, she is sent of to finishing school, but don't worry, that can't turn her into a proper Princess!