I thought this little story would be more subversive than it was, but other than the twist of having an ordinary-looking and acting girl as its main character, it pretty much follows the standard fairy tale line. (view spoiler)There's a handsome guy in the castle where Amy is working who, it turns out, is not nearly as shallow as all the other nobility she's met.
Princess Amethyst was expected to be given the same princessy gifts by the fairy godmothers as her six elder elder sisters - and she did indeed receive charm and wit and grace and courage. My Puffin edition gives a recommended readers' age of 9-11.
Unbeknownst to Amy, Percy is the prince of the kingdom--just as he has no idea that she is a runaway princess whose family is looking high and low for her. Secret identities are revealed, Amy returns home, and Percy flabbergasts her family by showing up and asking for her hand in marriage.
So many "fairy tale princess books" on the market are hideous, smarmy, wink-wink tales that blend modern humor with the fairy tale world, while practically screaming to the reader, "Look how clever and fresh I am! "The Ordinary Princess" has plenty of humor, but Kaye takes her world and her characters seriously enough that she makes you laugh with them, not at them. Yay for The Ordinary Princess!
M M Kaye came to the same conclusion after re-reading some of her favorite classic children stories and set out to tell us about their seventh sister, Her Serene and Royal Highness the Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne of Phantasmorania, also known as Amy. Due to a slight misunderstanding and scheduling conflict at her christening, the last fairy godmother to bless her (the slightly cranky and unpredictable Crustacea) gave her the gift of Ordinariness, to the dismay of her royal parents and court attendants. The story of Amy who may be not beautiful, but nevertheless enjoys her ordinary life, often evading from her luxurious chambers in a high tower to play in the forest where she makes friends with a raven, a squirell and some children from the village, is not only educational but also funny and charming, told in a simple language that pays homage to the classics (references to Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are quite obvious) while including enough modern and subversive elements to attract the children of the atomic age. True, the splendid jewels and brocades of the kings and princes and barons were quite out of place on her homely little person, but the fairy gifts had been very useful, for though she was ordinary, she possessed health, wit, courage, charm, and cheerfulness. Shying away from arrangements to get her married, and fearing to be a burden to her parents, Amy runs away from home, wandering through the forests in the company of her raven and squirell, until the real world with its material concerns intrudes: - And now, said the Ordinary Princess, I would like some advice, Godmama. -Neither do most ordinary people but they have to, said the old fairy.
(view spoiler)When she reaches marriageable age, her parents despair because who would want to marry an ordinary looking princess (*rolls eyes*), so they do something desperate which Amy disagrees with so she runs away.
The Ordinary Princess is one of the sweetest books I have ever had the immense pleasure of reading. The characters are wonderful and so, so sweet. A certain important friend of hers is just as sweet and wonderful, a person whom I adore for many reasons. I wish I had read or discovered this book sooner - and obeyed the recommendation from a dear friend earlier! I highly recommend this book to people of all ages - it can be enjoyed equally by children and adults who delight in a sweet story.
Five gloriously, shining stars for this amazing book (bumped it up one) it is one of the sweetest stories I have read in a long time with a beautiful style, delightful characters, and a sweet and funny message.
Princess Amy is the seventh daughter of King Hulderbrand and Queen Rhodesia. All throughout history, the seventh daughter has been the most beautiful, the most extraordinary princess of them all - but not this time. I loved the message that no matter who you are, or where you come from, being yourself will bring you happiness.
A must read for kids & adults, especially young girls & their parents.
M. Kaye followed the drum to Kenya, Zanzibar, Egypt, Cyprus and Germany.