The Princess Rules

HarperCollins/Harper. May 2020. 256p. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9780008388317.
Gr 1-3–Three previously published “Princess Florizella” tales are grouped together in this delightful collection. Princess Florizella is not a typical princess. This quirky, confident tween rejects rules and loves her horse, adventure, and swordplay. She doesn’t plan to marry, refuses to be rescued, and likes to take matters into her own (not-always-competent) hands. Readers are introduced to her in the first story, “Princess Florizella.” Though the narrator follows the traditional fairy-tale form, the voice is decidedly wry, with witty asides that help subvert fairy-tale conventions. Florizella is sent to attend Prince Bennett’s breakfast, where he will find a bride. She observes how other princesses neither eat nor express opinions as she tucks into a hearty breakfast and opines freely. When Bennett proposes, Florizella offers friendship instead, much to her parents’ dismay. In “Florizella and the Wolves,” the princess rescues a litter of baby wolves after their parents are killed by a hunter. She hides them in the castle but her behavior leads people to believe that she’s turning into an animal. “Florizella and the Giant” showcases the protagonist taking initiative. Bypassing the adults, she vows to battle a giant who seems to be rampaging the countryside. Accompanied by Bennett, she sets out to do the deed right. Grey-toned spot art enlivens the text and adds humor.
VERDICT These gently feminist fairy tales celebrate individuality, friendship, and partnership. A collection that belongs in all libraries serving youngsters.

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