I’d put money on the fact that most parents are beyond tired of seeing pink princess propaganda every time they turn around. The princess industry has made Disney enough money to fill an endless supply of royal pumpkin carriages, and they’ve also made parents want to crush every tiara they see.
Princess costumes, princess rain boots, princess tea sets, princess dollhouses, princess bedding, princess wallpaper, princess dinner plates… I’ve even seen princess car seats for toddlers. It never ends. And, unfortunately, this applies to the literary world as well. Kiddos, especially little girls, loooooove to read about princesses. Morning, noon, night, and many times in between, I’ve been asked to read princess stories, and no amount of begging, groveling, bribing, or sobbing on my part will convince these younguns to choose different books. Ugh.
Here’s a list that includes 6 of the most annoying princess books I’ve come across during my last decade in childcare. Parents, I feel your pain.
1. Princess Potty by Samantha Berger
Princesses use the toilet? Really? I thought one of the perks of being royal is that you don’t experience unpleasant bodily functions at all. Apparently they do use the bathroom, but they each have their OWN, special, royal bathroom. And they announce it when they have to go: “Hear ye, hear ye, I have to pee pee.” I’m now rolling my eyes so hard that I’ve given myself a headache. There are SO many better ways to potty train your little ones! I think I’d rather bribe them with chocolate than read them this syrupy sweet nonsense. Also, the book comes with stickers and a tiara. Seriously. Well, since I’m the one reading this crap (and about this crap, hehe), I think I’ll keep this tiara for myself, thank YOU.
2. Princess Posey (series) by Stephanie Greene
Okay, I’ve read several of these and I find the protagonist to be extremely whiney and wimpy. She should be called Princess Pansy because she’s afraid of everything! Dogs, new kids at school, her teacher’s Halloween monster stew, boys… I realize she’s only 6 (ish), but she’s a bit ridiculous. It’s not surprising that kids like these books; her fears and reactions are reflective of many childish common fears and reactions. This doesn’t make me like her, though. She claims to be a princess, but in my opinion, royalty should be held to a higher standard and NOT be whiny like this. As I say to the little ones in my care, “If you’re whining, I can’t hear you.” So, your highness, either stop talking or change your tone because I can’t hear you!
3. Goodnight Princesses by Adam Gamble and Mark Jasper
Oh my goodness. I can’t even. When do you ever wake up to hear birds singing? And would you even like it if you did? I sure as heck wouldn’t. Do you ever like your own reflection in the mirror? Nope, me neither. Obviously, we want to teach our kids about positive body image, but we don’t want them to be vain either. I feel like the characters in this book are just annoyingly self-assured and live in a completely unrealistic world. Sorry kids, but you’re probably never going to wake up to a perfect reflection in the mirror, a trunk full of luxurious gowns, or an endless supply of jewels. You may have to settle for a closet of second-hand American Eagle jeans and some cute earrings from Target, like I have. Deal with it.
4. Cinderella’s Dream Wedding/ Tiana’s Royal Wedding by RH Disney
Royalty and weddings. Let’s face it – it’s not just little girls who daydream about this stuff. Every little girl fantasizes about becoming a bride and being a princess, or so we tell ourselves. With this book, you can kill two birds (technically four, since it’s two books in one) with one stone and teach the kiddos about being a princess AND how to plan a wedding. Seriously. Do we really need to encourage these gender stereotypes? I’d like to teach my little ones that it’s okay if they end up as spinster cat ladies living in a suburban duplex. Maybe Disney can write a sequel to this book and call it “Rapunzel’s Potluck Divorce Party.”
5. Barbie’s Princess Charm School by Mary Man-Kong
Oh, Barbie. Every woman’s nemesis. Not only does she have insanely unrealistic body proportions, she’s now a princess! This book introduces a special school where princesses AND… wait for it… their ladies-in-waiting can go to learn to be better in their roles. So, if you’re not born into royalty, you could BE so lucky as to get accepted to charm school and learn how to wait hand and foot on someone who knows exactly just how far above your station they are! I can’t wait to read this one to my little ones and see the excitement on their faces as they learn how training to be someone’s servant can be oh-so glamorous. Friggin’ Barbie.
6. Frozen Sing-Along Storybook by Lisa Ann Marsoli
At this point, every parent and caregiver in North America (and beyond) is so sick of everything Frozen that their eyes turn black and their faces flame red whenever they hear the names Anna or Elsa. Not only does this book repeat the insanely popular story AGAIN, it even includes the lyrics to those songs you already hear in your nightmares. For some parents, these written lyrics might be a blessing since you’re beyond done with your kids singing the wrong words (it’s SO not cute anymore). For others, it’s just another notch on the totem pole of defeat as it gives your little ones inspiration to keep belting out these tired, tired, oh so tired tunes. Santa, I want earplugs for Christmas.
I know you probably want to bash your head repeatedly against the wall after reading these synopses, but please don’t! There’s hope! Authors and publishers are finally catching on and offering us some super cute, non-traditional princess books. Princess Pigsty by Cornelia Funke, Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer, and (my personal fave) The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, are three awesome tales of independent thinking, stereotype-defying little ladies who break the princess mold.
What’s your least favorite princess book?
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