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The Worst Princess

Posted on Jun 12, 2012

Anna Kemp (text) & Sarah Ogilvie (illustrations)
(Simon & Schuster Children’s Books)

Princess Sue is very lonely in her castle. She yearns for a prince to rescue her from her boredom. But when he finally turns up and takes her to his castle, they soon realise they don’t really see eye to eye as to how princesses should behave. Sue is determined to teach the old-fashioned prince a lesson, and enrols the help of a fierce-looking dragon.  Will Sue eventually get her happily ever after?

Written in rhyme, this third collaboration by the duo behind Dogs Don’t Do Ballet is an absolute delight and such a hoot to read aloud.

Once, Upon a time, in a town near you,
Lived a sad princess; the Princess Sue.

“Some day,” she sighed, “my prince will come,
But I wish he’s move his royal bum.”

From this opening, you just know that Sue is no ordinary princess. With her Converse-type trainers and slightly messy hair, this is a kick-ass princess with a bit of temper who is not about to let some pesky prince tell her what to do. Though the theme of the feisty, unconventional princess is not new, this is delivered with great gusto both in the brilliant rhyming text and the illustrations and make The Worst Princess such a success. I love Sarah Ogilvie’s style. There is a real comical element to it, with bright colours. It works so well with the humour in the text.
I think that young audiences enjoy stories where fairy-tale conventions are being challenged. Here the unusual friendship between princess and dragon and the unsavoury prince getting his comeuppance are sure to entertain little readers greatly.

The Worst Princess will appeal to little girls who are not prissy and don’t mind getting their hands dirty, like Sue. It won’t, however, cure princess-worshipping little girls of their love of everything pink. But the dig at stereotypes and the subtle message that one can be whoever they want to be hopefully won’t be lost on little audiences either. When messages are delivered in such an inspired way, they usually stick.

Be sure to discover Anna Kemp and Sarah Ogilvie’s two other books as well, you will not be disappointed!

All illustrations © Sarah Ogilvie

Source: review copy from publisher

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