I'll confess that I have a little issue with princesses... which can be tough, when you have a four year old daughter. For the first few years of her life, I admit that I limited Bee's access to princesses and all things purple and sparkly (I had a specific aversion to Disney princesses). It's not the princess stories I have a problem with, I just don't like how Disney has taken ownership over these beautiful stories that have been around for so long.
And then I found some photos of myself as a little girl, about Bee's size, dressed in a bright pink princess costume for Halloween (which my mom reminded me I wore more than one year in a row). So I decided not to fight it any longer... if Bee wanted to love princesses and dress up in pink sequins, so be it.
But I did want to show her that there are different versions of these classic princess stories. We've started checking out more of these old stories from the library... Rapunzel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White. There are some beautifully illustrated versions at our library, and Bee loves to look through them. So this week's library book is Beauty and the Beast, illustrated by Jan Brett.
Beauty's father picks a rose from the Beast's rosebush for his daughter, and is taken as his prisoner. Upon hearing the news, Beauty bravely takes her father's place as prisoner.
Over time Beauty starts to see the good in the Beast, she begins to look forward to their dinnertime conversations and she sees his kind and thoughtful deeds. He asks Beauty to marry him each night, and Beauty always replies "Pray don't ask me".
Beauty asks to take a trip to visit her home and see her sisters and her father again. While she is away, she has a dream that the Beast is dying and realizes that she loves him. Beauty rushes back to the castle just in time to save him... which breaks the spell and magically transfoms him back into a handsome prince.
Can I share one more little secret? I've figured out how to avoid the morning tears while combing the tangles out of Bee's hair. I used to dread combing Bee's hair in the morning, she would cry and whimper about every little tangle or snarl. Now I've turned that time into story time, and it has saved us so many tears. Bee will happily hand me her comb and remind me where we left off. I try to stretch each story out, so it takes a week or so to tell it and I don't limit myself to just princess stories. I've told my version of Red Riding Hood and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.. The Three Little Pigs and Charlotte's Web and anything else I can vaguely remember. I love that my son C is always peeking his head in so he can hear the story too.
I have great memories of my dad telling us stories when I was a kid. He would make them up when we went on long car rides, and they kept all six of us children entertained for hours at a time. Unfortunately I am not as good a storyteller as my father... but lucky for me, my daughter doesn't know any better.