The Princess Test

by Gail Carson Levine, published 1999

“Once upon a time, in the village of Snettering-on-Snoakes in the Kingdom of Biddle, a blacksmith’s wife named Gussie gave birth to a baby girl. Gussie and her husband, Sam, named the baby Lorelei, and they loved her dearly.

Children's Book - Princess TestIf your young (girl) reader is a fan of ‘fractured fairy tales,’ this children’s book offers a wonderful comical version of the classic Princess and the Pea. This book is playful from start to finish, and offers a nice break from anything serious. There’s not a serious ‘bone in the body’ of this lightweight children’s book, which is just fine.

At first, I asked myself if this children’s book represents good literature. But when I finished the book, I felt that the answer was yes, if we understand literature to include the ability to weave a good story together, write with humor, and add enough drama to make us stay engaged. One would expect in the beginning there’s no drama at all – of course the prince and the girl will marry. Yet nothing in the telling of the story really makes that a sure thing. So we read on just to enjoy the surprise in the end, which of course is not so surprising.

A lightweight, easy-to-read children’s book, one that’s good for encouraging young readers, most likely girls, ages 8 and up. This is  a fun and enjoyable fairy tale by the author of Ella Enchanted, which is a more substantial, but in some ways equally humorous book.

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