Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book One)
by Patricia Wrede, published 1990
“Being a dragon’s princess is a perfectly respectable thing to do, so my parent’s couldn’t complain. And it would be much more interesting than embroidery and dancing lessons.”
Here’s a children’s book that has just the right mix of silliness, message, and adventure to make it a worthwhile use of time. The message is pretty straightforward: don’t stereotype girls! It’s about one princess who is definitely not interested in normal princess role, and opts for adventure with dragons, which she gets in full measure. The silliness is that there’s not much to really take seriously in the book, and it is fun to watch how she treats the less intelligent princes that follow her. And the adventure…well that is the best part, as our heroine has a big hand in saving the dragons from evil wizards.
I think it’s a real art to create a children’s book adventure that is just complex enough to need some small amount of brain power to follow, yet not so complex (as with many young adult fantasy books) that you need to learn an entire new vocabulary and geography. Personally I don’t have the patience, and for younger readers, I feel it just gets in the way of the story. In Dealing with Dragons we know we are in a kingdom somewhere, but the rest of it is easy to imagine and follow. So I think any children age 10 and up could stay with this children’s book easily. I haven’t read the rest of the series (there are three other books) but they would be worth looking at if your young one really enjoys this one. I marked this as Waldorf-aligned mainly because it encourages girls to think for themselves.
Find this at your local bookstore