‘But I want a REAL princess book . . .’

This is frequently heard on the bookmobile. Not to stereotype our young patrons, but many four- and five-year-old girls are rather fond of princesses. Perfect, pink, pretty princesses, preferably the versions used as Disney’s® corporate spokesmodels. Finding princess books that will please a picky preschool patron can be problematic.  There is a delicate balance to being a children’s librarian, where you want kids to experience the best books possible, feeding their growing brains with carefully crafted stories and magnificent illustrations, but you also want them to be excited about what they are reading, respect their requests, and not be a book snob. Therefore, I have developed a three-part strategy to address princess book requests:

“I want a princess book!”

  1. Offer a classic fairytale or traditional folktale that has the word “princess” in the title or a title that matches that of a Disney princess movie. Proceed immediately to Dewey Decimal Classification 398.2 to find:
    1. The Twelve Dancing Princesses retold by Rachel Isadora
    2. Beauty and the Beast retold by Jan Brett
    3. Cinderella retold by Max Eilenberg, illustrated by Niamh Sharkey 

“But I want a REAL princess book!”

  1. Offer a good picture book that has someone in a frilly princess dress on the cover.
    1. Ella Bella Ballerina series by James Mayhew
    2. The Princess Gown by Linda Leopold Strauss, illustrated by Malene Laugesen
    3. Princess Bess Gets Dressed by Marjorie Cuyler, illustrated by Heather Maione

“But I want a REAL princess book!”

  1. Find a Disney® princess book, make myself remember how much I loved singing along to my copy of The Little Mermaid soundtrack, and bask in their shrieks of excitement. Then slip their preschool teacher a copy of Not All Princesses Dress in Pink (by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple,illustrated by Anne-Sophie Lanquetin) to read to their class.

    ~Robin, Mobile Services

8 thoughts on “‘But I want a REAL princess book . . .’”

  1. I always enjoy your posts, Robin! Both informative and funny. Another subversive title to slip the parent or teacher:
    Jane Yolen’s Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls.

  2. My four year old goes to the library and only chooses books with pink spines! We recently got “Don’t Kiss the Frog! Princess Stories With Attitude” chosen by Fiona Waters at the Library. It was fun, well written and brighly illustrated. I definitely reccommend it. We have read all of the Ella Bella Ballerina stories too.

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