You may have heard me rant about my abhorrence of the Surrendered Cinderella trope before and my frustration that Littlefae got suckered into it despite my best efforts.
Now thanks to Caryl Hart and Sarah Warburton’s Princess series I have even more in my arsenal to turn the tide and prevent Tinyfae from falling into the same traps!!
On a side note this entire series from Nosy Crow is excellent for challenging tropes and perfect for studying twisted fairy tales.
Princess Jasmine lives with her father and her kind Stepmother and lovely stepsisters but feels like she doesn’t fit in.
She dislikes pretty dresses and bows and wriggles and fidgets instead of standing nicely and is outraged at the thought of kissing a prince and getting married when there’s so much she wants to do.
She yearns to join in with the other children playing and running but is told it’s not proper for a Princess, so when she sees an invite for a race open to ALL she concludes that must include her and so sets an almost familiar set of events in motion.
Oh do I love this book. I love I love I love this interpretation of Cinderella on so many levels.
Jasmine’s feminism is strong throughout. She doesn’t want to just get married or sit and look pretty she wants adventures and to play and the last page of Jasmine looking on her achievements is wonderful with representation of girls in sport, science, arts, engineering and more and celebrating of achievements even if not first which is important too.
Jasmine and her Fairy Godmother is also awesome representation for Black females in literature. Jasmine is a black girl with natural hair who is a Princess in a European style kingdom which is wonderful to see.
The fact that she is the amazing and indomitable hero of the story is extra special, and it’s nice to see that she is already loved and considered pretty and there is no advice to change her appearance only her deportment and choices of activities to be more regal.
It is a wonderful touch also to see how Sarah Warburton has designed her Fairy Godmother an older black woman in traditional African dress including a headwrap and an outfit in bright Ankara prints.
My favourite part of the twist however is the focus away from magic being the answer and instead to the magic inside ourselves – Self Belief and Determination- constantly the story flicks back to Jasmine’s resilience and determination to succeed and despite a little wobble to stand up and fight for what she wants with an ‘I can!’
This is incredibly important and inspiring for young girls who may feel like they are expected to be pretty, dainty, polite and obedient that they can depend on and save themselves instead of waiting for a fairy or man to do it for them.
This is one of my faevourite picture books this year because of the awesome messages within and inspiring and inclusive messages. I think every child deserves to read about Jasmine and so do many grown ups too.
The Princess and the Shoe by Caryl Hart & Sarah Warburton is published by Nosy Crow
Thank you so much to Nosy Crow for sending a copy of this awesome book!