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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: princesses, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 51
1. Can a Princess Be a Firefighter?, by Carole P. Roman | Dedicated Review

Can a Princess Be a Firefighter? is an empowering picture book by award-winning author Carole P. Roman that encourages children to follow their dreams.

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2. All the Pretty Princesses

Princesses everywhere.

I am not the most girly type of woman.   But even I wanted to be a princess when I was little.  I did not want to be an actual princess, who has to learn to be diplomatic, attend boring meetings, discuss policy with councilors, and put up with the attentions of not necessarily handsome princes.  I wanted to be a fairy tale princess - beautiful, cosseted, rich and talented.

So, to celebrate Princesses everywhere on this Carnival Tuesday, here is a list of my favorite princess books:

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.  A dragon destroys everything - including a princess' wardrobe AND kidnaps a handsome prince.  Dressed in a paper bag, our princess hunts down the evil lizard. (Picture Book)

The Magic Fishbone by Charles Dickens.   Alicia manages the castle and the little princes and princesses quite well with just her cleverness.  The magic fishbone in her apron pocket must be saved for just the right wish. Happy ending, everyone!!! (Short story suitable for ages 4 through 10, and for adults who like Dickens)

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.   Miri and the other girls in her mountain village must learn how to be princesses because one of them will marry the prince.  Also - bandits try to kidnap them and they have to protect themselves.  Bad guys; jealousy; mean teachers; resourcefulness! (Middle grade through teen)

Hmmm, there are many, many more princess books around then are dreamt of in your philosophies, dear Horatio.  But here is just one more.

I am going to add I am Princess X by Cherie Priest because the story is a bit incredible but the combination of graphics and text and the suspense, clues, and sleuthing add up to a roller coaster ride of a book. (Teen - action-adventure, violent crimes, risk taking)

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3. Andrew S. Chilton, Author of The Goblin’s Puzzle | Selfie and a Shelfie

Brimming with dragons, goblins, and logic puzzles, this middle-grade fantasy adventure is perfect for readers who enjoyed The Princess Bride or Rump.

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4. farewell 2015....


thanks for a very productive year and an even bigger THANK YOU to everyone who purchased my art, as i am constantly humbled each and every time. 

looking forward to new paintings, drawings and just a super creative 2016! oh, and if i could get SNOW in there....;)


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5. Beyond the Chrysalis, by Naya H. Jones

In this new world, Ravin follows the ancient paths unfolding before her; battling a two-headed dragon; flying with the fairies of Will-o-Myst, befriending a crystal unicorn and her mate, a pegasus with a gold horn.

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6. The Princess and the Pony, by Kate Beaton | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Princess and the Pony, Kate Beaton! Giveaway begins July 13, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends June 12, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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7. mirror mirror on the wall....

©the enchanted easel 2015
so, i'm a little excited for these. ok, maybe a little *too* excited. but those who know me know i LOVE me a good mirror...especially when it's pocket sized and has a pretty picture (or in this case, a painting) on it! :)

ordered a few of these and will be posting them FOR SALE as soon as they arrive!

{so, the pink haired mermaid....kinda love her. such a girl...;)}

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8. My Writing and Reading Life: Heath McKenzie

Heath McKenzie | The Children’s Book Review | May 18, 2015 Heath McKenzie has illustrated numerous picture books and children’s book jackets. He lives with his wife and kids in Melbourne, Australia. Latest published book … My Rules For Being A Pretty Princess You wrote it because … …at the time, my wife and I were expecting our first […]

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9. Some ideas in the works...

My darling mother is a writer, and although she has never been published, she keeps on plugging away, expecting nothing really to come of it, but deep down wishing something would. So I've started illustrating a few of them, and who knows what might come of it. This is from one I've been working on.

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10. The Truth About Princesses and Other Stuff I’ve Been Doing

My daughter at princess tea

My daughter at princess tea

On the Lit Ladies blog, I am starting a series of posts about girls, strength, gender identity, uniqueness, strong females and more. I started with a topic currently near and dear to my heart–princesses. I think they are currently getting a bad rap from many, and so I’m sticking up for them here. Here’s my take on the obsession with princesses and why it’s not so bad: http://www.thelitladies.com/the-truth-about-princesses/

Besides this, if you are a writer, I also blogged on WOW! Women On Writing about coming up with a marketing plan for your book that makes sense. If you are in the throes of  marketing or even thinking about marketing, here’s what I had to say here: http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/2014/04/coming-up-with-marketing-plan-that.html

I also reviewed two funny books that would be perfect for gift books for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or graduation here: http://www.news-gazette.com/arts-entertainment/local/2014-04-20/give-gift-laughter.html

If you are a children’s writer and live near St. Louis/St. Charles or within driving distance (or you have frequent flier miles), consider coming to the Fall SCBWI Missouri Conference on September 6 and 7. It is going to be awesome. I can’t wait! In attendance will be agents, editors, art directors, published authors, and published illustrators. You can pay for critiques and pitch sessions, too. The Saturday non-member rate is $175 and you get so much stuff for that, you don’t even need to add more on to get a good value. Check out all registration information starting on this page: https://missouri.scbwi.org/events/2014-fall-conference/

Finally, I am participating in the Arthritis Foundation Walk on May 16 in St. Louis, and I am so close to my fundraising goal! I am walking in honor of my mom and my friend’s elementary school aged son! Please consider donating to this amazing foundation that helps people from ages 0 to 100. Here’s my page: http://stl.walktocurearthritis.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1095770&lis=0&kntae1095770=2DA0A7A304F64CE1B2E178573D47321A

1655060_10202352586313888_1471055173_oThanks, everyone! If you haven’t had a chance to buy Caught Between Two Curses yet, check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Caught-Between-Curses-Margo-Dill-ebook/dp/B00J8UWR4K

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11. Do you avoid “pink” books? Plus an interview with Abie Longstaff

When browsing for new books to read with my girls, I generally avoid anything which is pink (or associated shades of purple and red) and sparkly. I know lots of parents don’t; for many it’s a useful pointer, and for publishers it’s seen as a way to boost sales. But for me, it’s often shorthand for books I expect to promote a simpering, narrow world view, where what’s important for girls is making themselves look pretty so they can be rescued.

Pink AND bravery, imagination, creativity, strength (physical and of character), and wisdom don’t seem to be natural bedfellows in picture books (though no doubt you’ll be able to tell me of exceptions which prove this rule).

fairytalehairdresserSo given my aversion to pink, I would never have picked up The Fairytale Hairdresser and Sleeping Beauty written by Abie Longstaff and illustrated by Lauren Beard; It’s full of pinks, and liberally sprinkled with glittery bits.

But a review copy came through the letter box, and J fell hard for it. Something about it really, REALLY appealed to her and given her total passion for this book I felt honour bound to review it here. But how to review a book where my starting point was one of reluctance?

Kittie Lacey is a hairdresser, in a land populated by fairytale and book characters. Everyone from Alice (of Wonderland fame) to Little Red Riding Hood, the Owl and the Pussycat enjoy visiting her salon. One day, visiting fairies tell how their friend Princess Rose has fallen into an enchanted deep sleep, and only a kiss from her true love will wake her up. Does Kittie know anyone who could help? Could it possibly be that Prince Florian, a garden designer (the clue’s in the name) who visited Kittie’s salon earlier in the week, might be the man to save the day?

The setting is beguiling, especially to book lovers; like Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree, or many of Jacqueline Wilson’s books, there are lots of references to other story characters, making them all seem real. If they can walk out of one book into another, they must have a life of their own, which doesn’t just flow through the pens of their original creators; children will love spotting “old friends”.


There’s an interesting mix of old and new, traditional and modern; Neither the prince nor the princess are people of leisure – they actually work for other people – but yes [SPOILER ALERT], it is a kiss from the prince that makes everything all right. Kittie is very practical and clear headed, an independent. successful woman, and yet making the fairies pretty is seen as the best way to cheer them up. I didn’t feel very comfortable with this message that being pretty = being happy, especially when that prettiness is about adornment, clothes and hair-do’s, rather than (though I don’t like the phrase) “inner beauty” (though of course the two are not mutually exclusive).

Reading a book with someone who is totally passionate about the book – in this case, my youngest daughter – is always a delight, and so I’ve ended up loving The Fairytale Hairdresser and Sleeping Beauty, despite a personally slightly complicated relationship to it.

Now it so happens that earlier this year I met the author of The Fairytale Hairdresser and Sleeping Beauty, Abie Longstaff at the FCBG Conference. I think she’d agree with me when I said we got on wonderfully well, and had a great deal of fun together. It says a great deal about the friendship we struck up, that when I approached her about my “complicated relationship” with her Fairytale Hairdresser (there are 3 books already out featuring Kittie, and a 4th is on the way), she was very happy to talk to me about this series. Here’s how our conversation about her choices in this series of books went:

Playing by the book: Why did you choose to write about a hairdresser, and not say a doctor or an artist?

Abie Longstaff: When I designed the fairy tale world, I really wanted to make it ordinary. I wanted to reflect the kind of jobs that the majority of normal people have. I deliberately didn’t want the royals swanning around being dressed up smartly and not doing jobs. I feel ordinary craft jobs are not respected enough in today’s society and there is unfortunately a stigma against being a plumber or nursery carer or gardener or other job seen as low level (leading to teachers and nurses being paid far too little, but I’ll keep my rant short!). I also wanted to choose jobs that very young children would understand – so, shop keepers (Red Riding Hood), builders (Three Pigs), gardeners (Prince), hairdressers (Kittie). All my characters, whether boy or girl, have ordinary jobs; one that children can imagine, and play themselves. Because they all have ordinary jobs, there is a sense of equality in the community and the books are very much about helping your neighbour by doing a job for each other.

For Kittie, I chose a hairdresser because, as children, my sisters and I used to play hairdressers. We loved the business side – beautification wasn’t our main aim; we wanted to run the salon as well as do our dolls’ hair. We used to spend hours making shampoos, writing price lists and making bookings for all kinds of famous people. So I made Kittie a business woman as well as a hairdresser. She lives above her own salon and works hard at her life. In Cinderella, part of the ethos of the book is that by learning a skill, you can enhance your life. Cinderella comes to work in the salon without a skill but day by day she learns hairdressing. Cinderella’s main progress in the book is to have learned this new skill, which she continues after her marriage.

Just as a side point – I was asked to a festival in Bristol, for a Sure Start project in an underprivileged area of the city. The aim of the project was to get children into reading. One little girl came up to me at the end and said her mum was a hairdresser. Her mother said my books were the first she had seen that had a hairdresser as the main character.

Playing by the book: One of my concerns with “pink” books is how they often promote the importance of looking good, not for oneself, but to catch the attention of another. Spending money and time on fashion and accessories is promoted as a worthwhile way for a girl to spend her time. This is not something I wish to encourage my girls to believe. Where do you stand on the dressing up, and putting on the bling?

Abie Longstaff: I have tried to be really careful and not make the dressing up about beautification. In all the books the characters need their hair done to solve a problem (Rapunzel), to cheer themselves up (the fairies in Sleeping Beauty), to disguise themselves (the plot in the future Snow White book) and definitely not in order to ‘catch a man’. I also show male characters having their hair done; Father Christmas is a regular customer, so are the seven dwarves and, in Sleeping Beauty, it’s the Prince who comes in for a trim.

In Cinderella, I really didn’t like the original story, where Cinderella has to dress up and look rich to attract the prince (so much so that he doesn’t recognise her when she is poor and she has to try on a shoe in order to be identified), so I made my couple meet while she is still ragged and poor and the prince loves her then. At the ball she tells him she isn’t wearing her own dress, to make it clear to him she is out of place, and he loves her still. After they are married Cinderella goes back to wearing her ordinary raggedy clothes, because they are a part of who she is.

Playing by the book:Thinking about messages books can send out to kids, especially young girls, about the roles they can play in life, how did you choose the different women in your versions of the fairy tales?

Abie Longstaff: I have taken care to portray a range of different women in my books. There is the stay at home wife (Rapunzel), the working wife (Cinderella) and the working singleton (Kittie, who isn’t interested in getting a boyfriend – she likes her work and focuses on that). For me, feminism is about choice and I want girls to see a whole range of choices open to them.

Interestingly, when children come up to me to talk about the book, Kittie is the character they want to hear about, not Rapunzel. One little girl asked me, in awe; “Do you actually know Kittie Lacey?” – the children want to be Kittie, with her cool salon and her modern, independent life.

Playing by the book:You wrote these stories, rather than illustrated them. How did you feel when the illustrator and editor came back to you with the pinks and glitter?

Abie Longstaff:I agree the book covers are sparkly. They are pink Rapunzel), purple (Cinderella), red (Sleeping Beauty), and Snow White will be green. But the insides are much funky in a Manga-ish style. Kittie has her hairdryer on a tool belt and she is a bit super-hero like.

I accept that the sparkle and pink tones might put some people off, but the messages in the books are pro-opportunity. I guess I think that, if it makes more children read my books then at least I know the messages will be getting through at some level! I also know boys who love the books and, when I read them in schools the boys love the character spotting and stories too.

Playing by the book:It may come as a surprise to readers of your books that you’re not a full time author. Tell us what you day job is…

Abie Longstaff: I trained as a barrister originally. Now I work for a charity that looks at the effects of policing on society. Because my work often involves justice and human rights, I take real care to make sure all my ‘bad’ characters have a legal and proportionate punishment, as opposed to other fairy tale punishments. They go to jail or do some form of community service. I know this sounds like a small thing but it’s really important to me!


My HUGE thanks to Abie Longstaff (@AbieLongstaff) for responding to my questions with such generosity of spirit. Our conversation has certainly encourage me to re-read her books with new enthusiasm. Perhaps most importantly, she’s created a series of books which has completely captured the imagination of my youngest, and for that I’m hugely grateful.

When met with the boundless enthusiasm for this book emanating from J, I had to enter into the spirit of things. Yes, J and M could play hairdressers. Yes, they could do my hair.


Out came all the clips…


And I sat patiently whilst they transformed my hair with ribbons, combs, bands and more…


Whilst it may not be a look I’d adopt very often outside of our home, we had tremendous fun for an hour or so!


There’s something about letting the kids do what they want to their grown up which is very powerful; the kids set about decorating me with relish and delight, and it reminded me of when they were allowed to tattoo me (see here!); what is it about transforming your grown-up that is so delicious for a child?

So…. after all this, where do you stand on “pink” books? Will this post get you to look again at them?

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of The Fairytale Hairdresser and Sleeping Beauty by Abie Longstaff from the publisher, and as you’ve probably gather, I consider the author to be a personal friend.


3 Comments on Do you avoid “pink” books? Plus an interview with Abie Longstaff, last added: 9/9/2013
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12. Intl ARC Giveaway of The Elite by Kiera Cass

This is open to everyone. I can't always afford shipping when it's going overseas but I do want international people to get recognized too. (I haven't forgotten about you guys!)

I have an ARC of The Elite up for grabs. I wanted to put this post up yesterday but alas, my laptop decided to do updates and then my battery went dead.

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.
America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.
Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

Open to everyone
Winner must respond within 48 hours

a Rafflecopter giveaway

35 Comments on Intl ARC Giveaway of The Elite by Kiera Cass, last added: 4/30/2013
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13. Get a FREE Book Today

The online literacy site for children, KNOWONDER!, is offering a free book of 30 short stories for children--THE LONELY DRAGON. Just visit their site and register. It's as simple as that. There are also free stories to read and enjoy at their site as well.

Last November, they published my short story, "2 Much Laughter." And my story, "The Dragon Artist's Tale," will be featured in their upcoming print and ebook story collection of princess and dragon stories. Look for that soon!

But today, don't miss this opportunity to get a book that your whole family can share!

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14. Finn and the Fairies

 Finn and the Fairies
Finn and the Fairies

Everyone in Aran Village believes in fairies — everyone but Finn the tailor. When hens don’t lay or cows dry up, the villagers blame the fairies, and take extra care not to anger the creatures. Finn just laughs. “What foolish superstitions!” he declares. When King Bertrand announces a royal ball to find a wife for his son, Finn's talents as a tailor are in great demand. But much to his amazement, it’s not just the girls of the kingdom who need new gowns! How can he keep these mischievous new customers happy? Finn’s comical efforts to stay in the fairies’ good graces make for a lively and delightful story.

If you like this, try:
Beauty and the Beast
Elves and Shoemaker
The Gingerbread Man
The Gingerbread Girl
Hansel and Gretel

0 Comments on Finn and the Fairies as of 12/12/2012 2:38:00 PM
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15. Twelve Dancing Princesses

Twelve Dancing Princesses, by Rachel Isadora
A Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator gives this classic fairy tale a brand-new setting!
Night after night, the twelve princesses mysteriously wear out their shoes. But how? The king promises a great reward to any man who can solve the mystery. Rachel Isadora has revitalized and reimagined this well-loved Brothers Grimm fairytale by bringing the story of the twelve princesses to Africa...

If you liked this, try:
The Fisherman and his Wife
Sleeping Beauty
Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave
Puss in Boots
The Wild Swans

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16. If it’s snowing where you are, this is especially for you…

First up: An Apology.

This post will mention Christmas.


Yes, I know it’s still months away, but Christmas cards are on sale everywhere I go at the moment and so I’m jumping on the bandwagon and giving you what may be my only Christmas post all year so be generous, and stick with me… please?

The Story of the Snow Children by Sibylle von Olfers is an utterly delightful wintry tale full of whimsy, sprinkled with magic and sparkling with charm.

You know how when parents are off out of the scene, all sorts of interesting things can happen that might otherwise never be possible? Well one day when Poppy is left alone, she spies a group of snowflake children dancing through the sky. She can’t resist going out to join them (who can blame her?) and they quickly invite her to visit the Snow Queen. Her palace is “a castle of ice all shining white – the turrets like sugar, the walls smooth as glass.

Poppy and her new friends share a huge feast, a ball and enormous amounts of fun but at the end of it all Poppy is tired and wants to go home. The Snow Queen understands and returns Poppy back to her mother in a polar-bear drawn sleigh. All’s well that ends well, sweet and simple as that.

This tale is full of comfort, joy and excitement; Poppy’s Snow Queen couldn’t be further from that found in Narnia. And the final line is so deliciously tantalising, addressing the reader directly, as it does, about the possibility that we too might one day be able to visit the Snow Kingdom.

The illustrations are full of pale blues, greens and white, with Poppy in her red coat, hat and gloves acting as a perfect foil to the cool wintry landscapes. Sibylle van Olfers’ style has often been compared to that of Kate Greenaway and Elsa Beskow, and in this book the snowdrop panels used to frame her pictures have echoes of Arts and Crafts design.

Image: http://www.steinerbooks.org/

The Story of the Snow Children has recently be re-published in mini-format (only a little bit bigger than an iPhone) and this little edition would make a perfect stocking filling, especially if you can conjure up some snow for Christmas morning.

Photo: CaptPiper

Having read The Story of the Snow Children we just couldn’t resist trying to create our own palace of crystal, all sparkling and bright.

First we made some snowflake crystals using powdered alum (also known as potassium alum or alum potash – we ordered ours online). We three-quarters-filled a clean jar with hot water and then stirred in powdered alum one spoon at a time until the solution was saturated (i.e. until we could see the alum collecting at the bottom of the jar and no longer dissolving in the hot water). We then hung a star made out of bent pipecleaners into the solution using a paper clip hooked round a pencil, making sure the pipe cleaner didn’t touch the sides/bottom of the jar. Within a couple of hours this is is what we had:

You can imagine how excited we were! We then tried to repeat the process but with many more snowflake shapes.

Perhaps because our solution wasn’t so saturated, the second batch of snowflakes took much longer to grown (several days), but an unexpected bonus was that beautiful crystals did grow on the bottom of the container we were using, so we turned that on its side to create our crystal palace.

We decorated our palace with the crystals we had grown, and then populated the palace with some painted figurines to represent Poppy and her new friends.

Around the side of the palace we stuck sugar cubes using icing sugar as glue, to further create the illusion of a building made completely from sparkly crystal.

Here are some of our crystals close up:

Growing the crystals was a great deal of fun, and definitely worth the price of a packed of powdered alum. Science, sparkles + a sweet story = success!

Whilst making our crystal palace we listened to:

  • The Waltz of the Snowflakes from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky
  • Snowflake, Snowflake by Tony Mottola and Tom Glazer
  • Lionel Hampton playing the vibes – the vibraphone is exactly how I imagine a flurry of happy, swirling snowflakes sound!

  • Other activities which would be fun to get up to along side reading The Story of the Snow Children include:

  • Listening to (or even making) musical instruments made out of ice. Here are videos of ice xylophones, ice drums and ice guitars, didgeridoos and more!
  • Making an ice palace with ice cubes – we made a toy igloo this way here.
  • Creating snowflakes to dance on your windows – perhaps using coffee filters like the Artful Parent did here.

  • So… is Christmas on your radar yet? Are any books you’re hoping to give or receive in mind?

    Disclosure: I received a free copy of The Story of the Snow Children from Floris Books. I was under no obligation to review the books and I received no money for this post.


    3 Comments on If it’s snowing where you are, this is especially for you…, last added: 9/26/2012
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    17. The Really-Truly Princess Test by Amanda Kastner

    Author Showcase

    The Children’s Book Review
    Published: March 6, 2012

    Rosellen is exactly your age, if you happen to be half-past-seven years old or maybe just-turned-eight. She looks very much like you do, too, if you are not especially big and not especially little, but just the right in-between size, with nice eyes and a nice smile and medium-colored hair. She lives with her father and mother in a castle.  Naturally, this means that her father and mother are the King and Queen, so Rosellen is a Princess.

    Rosellen’s father and mother always wear their crowns so people knew they ought to be called Your Highness. They have large, heavy crowns for State Occasions and for everyday they have practical, lightweight crowns that won’t slip sideways if you nod or hurt your toes if you drop the crown on them accidentally. Rosellen is only allowed to wear her crown on State Occasions.

    “I wonder,” Rosellen said to herself one day, “if that means I’m only a Princess on State Occasions.”

    She wished she knew how to tell when she was a Princess and when she was not a Princess; wearing a crown never made her feel any different except that her head would ache when she took the crown off.

    “But somehow,” Rosellen said, “having head-aches does not seem like a very good way to tell if you are a Really-Truly Princess.”

    Rosellen is determined to find out if she’s a Really-Truly Princess once and for all, using the story of “The Princess and the Pea” as a guide–with surprisingly messy results!

    The Really-Truly Princess Test is an engaging read-aloud story for ages 6-10 and features over 20 full-color illustrations.

    Available Now for Kindle, Nook, and as a .PDF!

    For purchasing information, excerpts, free coloring sheets and more, visit http://books.storyseamstress.com

    About the Author/Illustrator: Amanda Kastner is a children’s illustrator living in the beautiful lake country of Minnesota. She loves to read old books, design and sew original clothing, and generally raise the fire hazard level of the house with ever-present, ever-shifting stacks and drifts and mountains of papers.

    The Author Showcase is a place for authors and illustrators to gain visibility for their works. This article was provided by the author. Learn more …

    ©2012 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.


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    18. When were you last a princess?

    As it happens, I spent much of the weekend being a princess.

    M and J too – although, perhaps technically that meant that I was the queen?

    Either way we’ve been living it up like only princesses do, testing our sensitivity by sleeping on mattresses and quilts piled almost as high as the ceiling.

    In fact we had 4 mattresses, 6 quilts and (because we’re modern princesses) 5 duvets. Oh, and 1 pea.

    Our royal highnesses can thoroughly recommend trying out a towering bed like ours. It was the source of much mirth and merriment (you’ll never hear this in the stories, but such beds are very, VERY wobbly), even though we have all ended up black and blue with bruises all over because of that pernicious pea.

    You see, (if you wish to believe it) The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen and Maja Dusikova tells the truth: You really can tell who is of royal blood, and who is not, by placing one small, green, sweet seed of Pisum sativum under a mountain of mattresses. We scientifically investigated this and Andersen has been proved correct.

    Should you not be in a position to carry out rigorous research yourself, then have no fear; this version of The Princess and the Pea, published by Floris Books, has everything, absolutely everything you could wish for.

    The well-known story is told eloquently and magically, with no post modern twists, just classical elegance. But it is Maja Dusikova’s illustrations which make this a book sing. Beautiful, graceful, delicate, detailed, soft and luxurious, Dusikova’s illustrations have tip-top fairy tale quality. Imagine a rainbow coloured incarnation of Hans Christian Andersen Award winning Lisbeth Zwerger and you’ll get some sense of Dusikova’s style.

    An utterly delightful book, I don’t know of any more charming version of this tale, traditionally told.

    Whilst playing at being a princess we listened to:

  • Tomboy in a Princess Dress by Suzi Shelton, which you can listen to for free on Zooglobble’s great site.
  • Sheet Shakin’ Bed Quakin’ Belly Achin’ Wide Awake

    5 Comments on When were you last a princess?, last added: 2/7/2012
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  • 19. A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

    Add this book to your collection: A Tale of Two Castles

    Have you read this book? Rate it:
    Note: There is a rating embedded within this post, please visit this post to rate it.

    ©2011 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.


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    20. Courtly Masquerade is up on Smashwords!

    by Terry Spear

    Don't you love the cover? It's actually a picture I took of woods by a stream in Scotland. It was magical, really. And I thought it would be perfect for COURTLY MASQUERADE. :)

    I loved reading fantasy when I was growing up. The world of royalty, the treachery and deceit, magical and mythical creatures. I've written several books that deal with the various worlds of a fantastical nature. In this one, it's strictly a magical world. In some of the others, I enjoyed adding the creatures that caught my imagination--centaurs, ogres, griffins, dwarves, Amazons, and a couple of my own mythical creations.

    Today, most of my work is more of a urban fantasy nature--the fantastical living in our contemporary every day society. But I still love to fall into a purely historical fantastical world too. What about you?

    Courtly Masquerade

    Ebook By Terry Spear
    Published: Apr. 06, 2011
    Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
    Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
    Words: 43300 (approximate)

    Arabella, Duchess of Foxmoor Castle, is given a mission by her cousin, Princess Lynet--make the prince she's betrothed to give up any notion of wedding her. But Arabella faces danger at every turn when she discovers her magical talents mean others believe her to be "The One" who will fulfill the prophecy to take down the most evil wizard of all time.

    Arabella shouldn't have used her magic.

    She shouldn't have given into her spoiled cousin.

    She shouldn't have escaped Lord Conlan.

    Or stolen from the Dark One.

    But she did.

    Have a super Thursday!!! The weekend is almost here!


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    21. Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose

    Ten Big Toes and a Prince's NoseTen Big Toes and a Prince's Nose by Nancy Gow, illustrated by Stephen Costanza  Sterling, 2010

    A prince and a princess think they will never find someone to marry. Their sadness is poignant as they suffer rejection and disappointment at the hands of others. His nose is too big and her feet are too long.

    When the prince meets this princess on the ski slopes she does not know that the scarf wrapped around his face hides an overly large nose.   He does not realize that her feet are actually ski length.  Here are two kind people who have despaired at finding a kindred spirit.  Their pleasure in their new friendship is a joyous thing. (One can only hope Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton share something similar.)

    The prince was enthralled by the princess's smile, her beautiful voice and her princess-y style. The princess laughed hard at His Highness's wit. She enjoyed a good joke. The young prince was a hit!

    Stephen Costanza uses a dreamy, fairytale palette on the page.  His prince and princess are sympathetic and tender hearted.  The characters are comedic but also have a bright, sweet, and romantic whimsy.

    Not all fairy tales are about "the fairest in the land" in the traditional sense.  These two are fair in spirit.  This is a lovely tale. 

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    22. Stories in Tune – Swan Lake – Part 2

    Last week I wrote about the picture books we’ve been reading as a way into enjoying the music of Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky. As in the past I found the easiest way to get the girls to become familiar with the music was to play them clips from YouTube. The advantage of using these clips, apart from them being free, is that they tend to be short (5-10 minutes, which is great for ensuring kids don’t get bored), and that there is something interesting to look at whilst the music wafts over you.

    Here are some of our favourite clips:

    This clip shows Odile and the prince dancing at the ball, performed by the Kirov Ballet.

    This clip shows the Pas de Quatre, peformed by the Bolshoi Ballet. My girls particularly like this and tried immediately to copy what they had seen!

    Once M and J had seen the Bolshoi’s Pas de Quatre, I showed them Matthew Bourne’s Pas de Quatre. They were amazed to see men dancing ballet!

    This was perhaps my favourite clip (I watched it 5 or 6 times with the girls and each time it brought tears to my eyes!). It shows the spectacular finale to Swan Lake by the American Ballet Theater.

    This clip, from the Great Chinese State Circus, isn’t one for ballet purists, but my girls just adored it – they were amazed by the acrobatics.

    Having listened to lots of shorter clips of music it was then easier to put

    4 Comments on Stories in Tune – Swan Lake – Part 2, last added: 11/8/2010
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    23. Stories in Tune – Swan Lake – Part 1

    Welcome to the sixth post in our mini-series here on Playing by the bookStories in tune – all about picture books inspired by classical music. In the last month or so we’ve been listening to Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky, doing a fair bit of dancing, and of course reading some lovely books.

    Ella Bella Ballerina and Swan Lake by James Mayhew was published less than a month ago and couldn’t have arrived at a better time for us - Ella Bella Ballerina and Swan Lake turns out to be the perfect book to introduce this amazing ballet to the youngest of children

    Ella Bella is a young girl (I imagine her to be 6 or 7) who takes ballet classes in a gorgeous old theatre with the grand but kind Madame Rosa. At this particular class Madame Rosa introduces her students to the music of Swan Lake, telling them some of the key elements of the ballet’s storyline whilst they dance to music created by Madame Rosa’s wind-up musical box (complete with a spinning ballerina). When the class ends Ella Bella is so entranced by the music and the fairytale that she continues in her own reverie, dancing and imagining herself alongside Princess Odette as the story of Swan Lake plays out: when the prince is deceived by Odile, Ella Bella tries to warn him and when Odette flees the palace Ella Bella helps the prince to fine Odette.

    Creating an illustration for Ella Bella Ballerina and Swan Lake. Image: James Mayhew

    Ella Bella’s daydream ends just as the prince and his princess find each other and live happily ever after; Ella Bella’s mother is waiting for her and, having been utterly transported, this budding ballerina splashes “in the puddles all the way home, just like a baby swan.”

    This story worked so well for us: it showed the girls how Swan Lake is not just a tale, but a ballet; it appealed to so many little girls’ idea of heaven – dressing up and being a ballerina, it put Ella Bella (and by extension my own girls listening to the story) at the heart of the action making is seem alive, and it showed how listening to music can sweep you up and take you to new and wonderful worlds. All these facets added up to making this book a great stimulus for imaginative play and really listening to the music.

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    24. Clever Jack Takes the Cake

    Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

    The creators of Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! return with a delightful fairy tale.  Jack is invited to the princess’ tenth birthday but has nothing to fine enough for a present.  But then Jack has a great idea, he will bake her a birthday cake.  He didn’t have enough money to buy ingredients, so he had to trade for them, work for them, or make them on his own.  Finally it was finished.  Two cake layers, frosting, ten candles, walnuts and a big strawberry.  Jack sets off to the party, but his way is not easy.  Blackbirds fly at him and steal the walnuts from the top of the cake.  To cross a bridge he has to give a troll half of the cake.  The candles are used up escaping a dark, frightening wood.  A bear eats the last of the cake, but not the strawberry.  So all Jack has to give the princess is the big, juicy berry.  But he still has to get into the castle and all the way to the princess.

    When I opened this book, it was like returning back to a beloved tale.  Fleming and Karas have created a new tale with the soul of a classic.  From the premise of the poor boy taking a present to the series of disasters, readers will find themselves happily on familiar ground.  That is not to say that there are not surprises, there are and they are great fun!

    Fleming’s writing is adroit, offer just the right amount of text per page, just the right amount of detail, and pacing the book perfectly for young listeners.  Her prose is a joy to read aloud, the phrasing fitting perfectly in the mouth.  This is quite simply a book that must be shared aloud.

    Karas’ art is winningly done.  Jack’s mop of messy hair, his skinny frame, the dramatic moments of the birds, the troll, and the bear that have great perspectives.  He also plays with the background, washing the illustration of Jack’s home with a dull overlay, gradually blending from white to a warm pink when the princess enters the book.  All of the small details add up to a richness and charm that really add so much to this book.

    A delight, this book must be shared to be fully enjoyed.  This is one that must be added to any story time or unit on birthdays, cake, or fairy tales.  But it should also become one of those books that you use any old time when you need a winner.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

    Reviewed from copy received from Schwartz & Wade.

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    25. Wordless Wednesday - Beauty and the Beast

    We went to a performance of the musical Beauty and the Beast last weekend. My daughter enjoyed meeting Belle and showing off her Belle doll.

    The musical is based on the Disney version, so it includes characters like Gaston and the enchanted objects. I had never read the original fairy tale until this week. The Walter Crane version can be read online at Internet Archive if you'd like to take a look. It's interesting to see how different illustrators portray the Beast. My daughter drew her own version last year. I saved it along with some of her other drawings and thought now was the perfect time to post it. I do love how her Beast turned out.

    Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom or Seven Clown Circus.

    11 Comments on Wordless Wednesday - Beauty and the Beast, last added: 7/21/2010
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