The Princess Who Had No Kingdom by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb

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The Princess Who Had No Kingdom by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb
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Genre: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A delightful fairy tale that sits comfortably alongside all the classics. It's fresh and original, but rightly doesn't try to reinvent the genre. Sarah Gibb's illustrations are wonderful too. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Orchard
ISBN: 978-1846160424

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The princess who has no kingdom wanders around in a cart pulled by her horse Pretty. She's very polite, friendly, and kind-hearted, but she feels like something is lacking because she doesn't have a kingdom of her own. The other royals she meets treat her nicely enough, but there's always a feeling that she's not quite as good as them because she isn't the princess of anywhere.

The Princess Who Had No Kingdom is a lovely fairy tale. It strikes the same tone as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and all the other much-loved classics, rather than trying to reinvent the genre for a modern audience. It does this whilst still being fresh and original, which is no mean feat. The princess does all the things most princesses do - she looks pretty and wants to marry a prince - but there's a real feel that she's got her head screwed on straight and isn't just a dippy thing who needs to be pampered. She's inspirational without sucking the fun out of the aspirational.

It's an ideal book to read together with children who are just learning to read for themselves. There's a much deeper and longer story than in most picture books, but the vocabulary is clear and interesting. There's a lot of text for the very little ones, but it's such a charming tale that they won't feel lost when you read it to them. As soon as they'd be ready for any other fairy tales, they'll certainly love The Princess Who Had No Kingdom.

Sarah Gibb's illustrations suit the tone of the book perfectly. Some pages feature silhouettes heavily, which gives it a classic atmosphere. The princesses and princes throughout all have wigs, fans, and carriages at their fancy balls. It's all exactly as you'd imagine a fairy tale book to look, but the heroine and her eventual beau have a modern beauty with marries with the freshness of the tale. It'd make for a gorgeous present for a young girl. Recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Other lovely princess books include The Apple-pip Princess by Jane Ray and Magical Princess Stories by Margaret Mayo, Geraldine McCaughrean, Rose Impey, Andrew Matthews, Jane Ray, Ian Beck, Angela Barrett, Emma Chichester Clark and Alan Snow. Slightly older children will love A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett and its sequel Wishing For Tomorrow by Hilary McKay.

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