by Philippe Lechermeier
illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer
Sterling Publishing Co., 2010
review copy was purchased because every page I looked at made me laugh
You thought you knew all there was to know about princesses because you've read every version of Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel? Well, think again. You've never met Princess Somnia who sleeps, Princess Paige who reads, or Princess Molly Coddle who is spoiled (plus more than a dozen others).
This book is equal parts parody and word play. It fits into the category of books that work really hard to look like nonfiction even though the topic is fictional -- this one has definitions, diagrams, cross-references, charts, graphs, tables, a glossary, a bibliography, an index, a list of proverbs and a test you can take to find out what kind of princess you are.
It's a GORGEOUS book -- oversized with red and pink as the dominant color-scheme -- and there is so much to look at on every page, complicated by the cross-references from one princess to another, that it is more of a book for browsing than reading straight through cover to cover.
One of the joys of this book lies in the diversity of the princesses. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, skin colors and cultures. (There is even one princess who is a prince.) They have incredibly unique talents and personalities...just like the reader, who is encouraged to find someone familiar (perhaps yourself?) in these princesses.
This book is for older readers (sophisticated humor and high level vocabulary), for anyone passionate about princesses, and even for readers who aren't really all that into princesses, but who appreciate humor and creativity no matter what the topic.