Books for dragon-slaying princesses

Princess smartypants

I adore books and so does my five year old daughter. My dinosaur loving  five year old also loves throwing herself into mud while pretending to be a superhero slaying dragons.

She also doesn’t have much time for princesses in fairytales.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with loving princesses. I loved princesses and I still do. But there are also some fantastic stories out there about princesses who refuse to conform to their traditional stereotypes. These princesses are smart and sassy and are quite happy not depending on their prince to save the day, thank you very much!

1. The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie

Brought to you by the creators of Dogs Don’t Do Ballet and Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes, this fabulous book about the mischief making Princess Sue is written entirely in rhyming couplets and was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2012.  Princess Sue has been stuck in her tower for a hundred years, learning about princess behaviours and awaiting rescue. But when the Prince turns up, Sue realises that swishing her skirts around a tower isn’t really much fun. She befriends a Dragon and together they travel around making mischief for “royal twits and naughty knights.”  A fun introduction to smashing the patriarchy, this book is brilliantly entertaining.

2. Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole

I love Princess Smartypants. Originally published in 1986, this bold and brilliant story is THE feminist book of children’s literature. The story starts with Princess Smartypants’ outright refusal to get married. She declares that she wants to remain a “Ms.” And remain a “Ms” she does as various Princes arrive to woo her, but remain outsmarted by our heroine. The story reaches its finale as Prince Swashbuckle looks like he is going to get hitched to our Princess. However, the crisis is averted when she turns him into a gigantic warty toad with her kiss. We do like a non-traditional ending!

3. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

Published in 1980, the spirited Princess Elizabeth is set to marry Prince Ronald when horror upon horrors, he is kidnapped by a dragon who has destroyed the castle and burned all of Elizabeth’s clothes.  Undaunted, our clever Princess dresses herself in a paper bag and sets out to rescue Prince Ronald – who upon being rescued, is very unhappy with her not very princess appearance. This fantastic story shows that it’s great to use your brain and even more importantly, contains the message that you don’t need to settle for just anyone, but rather that it’s better to hold out for someone who appreciates you the way you are.

Have you met these feisty princesses? Or have you any other recommendations? Comment below and let us know!

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