Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Princess Tales

Gail Carson Levine
Fiction, Fantasy, Children's

This book is a compilation of three familiar fairytales told with a typical Levine twist. In "The Fairy's Mistake," a typical gift of jewels falling from the lips of a kind-hearted girl proves to be far more problematic than the punishment of bugs and snakes for the snide girl. Naturally, it all comes down to greed, and Levine's theory that a "quick and easy" solution has more problems than not.

The second story concerns a very picky girl (who is sweet but necessarily fussy) and a prince whose parents are just as particular. Naturally, they wish to get their son a perfect princess, and set up a number of tests, the last of which, of course, is the pea under thirty mattresses.

The final story, a Sleeping Beauty retelling, has another instance of misplaced fairy gifts. Princess Sonora (Princess Snore?) is gifted with ten times the intelligence of everyone else, which means that not only is she a most startling baby, but she loves to come up with theories - except no one likes to listen to her. "Princess Sonora knows - but don't ask her," becomes a catchphrase in the kingdom. So when the sleep of one hundred years comes upon her, who better to wake her than a prince who always asks "Why?"


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