Do you live with a princess? Or are you lucky enough, like me, to keep company with an actual queen?
Most days, I help my little girl into her Frozen dress, gloves, crown, royal necklace and cape. She loves being Elsa. And I’m okay with that because she also likes being a soldier, a pirate and, occasionally, a superhero-pirate-queen. Her favourite colour is blue, not pink. She likes to play with dolls, but also trains, cars, jigsaws and board games. She’s happiest racing on her scooter being chased by ‘lions’ and jumping in muddy puddles.
What I’m trying to say is that she’s into the whole princess thing, but also a whole load of other things too. So I can deal with it.
But I was still delighted when she picked out a book called Princess Pigsty (by Cornelia Funke and Kerstin Meyer) at the library. I have a feeling she thought it would be about a regular princess, doing the whole fairy tale thing. But I was totally delighted when we took it home and found it wasn’t. And my little princess turned out to be happy too.
Here’s a quick summary.
Princess Isabella lives in a castle with her princess sisters and her mum and dad, the king and queen. A whole team of footmen attends to their every need. Princess Isabella’s parents fondly imagine that their daughters must be the happiest children in the world. But they’re not. Or Isabella isn’t anyway.
She’s realised that being a princess is boring. She hates having her hair curled and being waited on. She wants to have fun, so she throws her crown into the pond. Her dad – the king – is furious and sends her to work in the palace kitchen until she agrees to fetch her crown and behave like a princess. Against his expectations, Isabella enjoys working in the kitchen. Then her dad sends her to work in the pigsty…
… and she enjoys that too, noting that pigs are very intelligent animals.
So the crown stays in the pond.
I won’t give the whole story away other than to say that the king turns out to be rather a nice dad who comes to understand that his daughter is much happier without a crown, silly dress and curled hair.
And for me, anyway, it was lovely to read out lines like, ‘Being a princess is boring!’
So if you live with a princess or a queen, look out for Princess Pigsty in the library. It might help your little girl to set her sights on something more novel – like being an astronomer-astronault-superhero-pig farmer.