Thursday, March 4, 2004

Princess, Princess

Dale, P. 2003. PRINCESS, PRINCESS. Cambridge: Candlewick Press. ISBN 0763622125 [Suggested Grade Levels K-2]

A beautiful young princess is put to sleep by a frowning fairy friend who was not invited to the princess’ birthday party. The frowning fairy wanted to spoil the birthday fun since she had not been included in the celebration. The primary question in the tale is “Who will wake the princess with a kiss?” As time passes, the angry fairy feels bad for causing the sleeping spell. She returns with a gentle smile rather than a frown. It is she who awakens the sweet princess with a kiss.

Clearly, Dale’s tale is similar to SLEEPING BEAUTY. However, this story is different in that it deals with friendship instead of true romantic love. There is no prince charming in the story ready to save the damsel in distress. Instead, the theme focuses refreshingly on friendship and the practice of righting wrongs. The text is almost poetic in that it flows gently and easily from page to page. Dale’s watercolor and pencil illustrations are appealingly done. The princess is frequently enveloped in light producing a halo effect. In addition, many of the pages are framed in a Beautrix Potter fashion. Moreover, the blending of old traditions with new themes makes this book the kind of tale that will endure the passage of time.

Children could act out PRINCESS, PRINCESS and SLEEPING BEAUTY for fun and enrichment purposes. The enactments could be elaborate productions requiring specific costumes and equipment. However, the productions could be done more simply in a classroom or library setting. In either case, the productions would be fun and strengthen student understanding of friendship, love, and related consequences. After the performances, students could compare and contrast their interpretations of the stories.

The reading of PRINCESS, PRINCESS could prompt rich discussion about friendship and making up.

Children could rewrite a traditional tale of their own choosing.

Other books or tales that can be compared and contrasted with PRINCESS, PRINCESS in terms of folklore similarities and differences:
Craft, Mahlon. SLEEPING BEAUTY. ISBN 1587171201
Hyman, Trina. THE SLEEPING BEAUTY. ISBN 060619844X

By Laura K. Davis

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