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Thursday
Jun102010

this week's library book

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.

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Reader Comments (33)

This has saved us a lot of hair brushing headaches, and works beautifully on those silky, tangled curls:

http://www.magiccabin.com/product.asp?section_id=0&department=0&search_type=normal&search_value=brush&cur_index=&pcode=608

We use the Child's brush. (I don't work for them or anything! Just wanted to pass this along.)

Thanks for all of the great book recommendations. My sons are obsessed with the classic fairy tales right now, so we've got Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel out of the library now, too.

06.19.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaiz

I'd like to suggest you check out the Princess and the Pea, illustrated by Lauren Child (she also does Charlie & Lola), and don't forget about Pippi Longstocking!

06.19.2010 | Unregistered CommenterGillian

I just came across this book titled The Apple-Pip Princess by Jane Ray. I really loved it and think you may too. It has gorgeous illustrations and is not a typical princess story. No princes or villains, it's about hope, doing what you believe is right, following your heart, and community coming together. It's really lovely.

06.21.2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

try paper bag princess- excellent book! not sure if anyone already gave out that idea- if so great minds!

06.21.2010 | Unregistered Commenterlynda fitzgerald

I don't have an aversion to princesses but I have a serious aversion to Disney princesses. I avoided them like the plague. I let my daughter see Snow White because I remembered the animation to be really beautiful and that opened the flood gate. I believe in letting children follow their interests so I didn't steer her away but rather just tried to keep it in balance and expose her to other princesses as well. It's all the merchandising I take issue with. Everything is poorly made and just falls apart. And the books! Have you ever read one aloud? They are so badly written. I've stopped letting her watch the movies because I realized that they are just too scary. She is much better off not watching them and doesn't even ask for them anymore. She actually seemed relieved when I explained that they aren't really for 4 year olds and that we'd put them away for a few years. Some books we like are Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floats and Lauren Child's Princess and the Pea. I love the historical princess idea from another commenter. I'll have to try that.

06.22.2010 | Unregistered Commenterbronwyn

Not One Damsel in Distress, by Jane Yolen. It is spectacular. I have two boys and when my oldest was three years old we began reading it. It is still one of our all time faves, (now he is 11) and I have a four year old boy who adores it as well. It is full of stories where the girls saved the day. It is our gift of choice for girls.

06.25.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJane Yolen

This was my most favorite version of Beauty and Beast as a little girl. Every time we would go to the library I would insist on getting this book. I think it shows that princesses don't always have to be pink and sparkly :)

06.30.2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Rose Johnson

when i was little, my mom used to pull out this book that even then was falling apart (i need to research book mending). She got it years and years ago as a present from their neighborhoods scary old lady, whose birthday was the same month as my mom's. It's this beautifully illustrated edition of Beauty and the Beast that I have never found another copy of, and trust me, I've looked. It was this book, and not disney (though I'm a true blue old school disney girl, with an aversion to their new cornered market on princesses) that made me fall in love with fairy tales.

when they're older, I recommend "Beauty" by Robin McKinley, which is an amazing retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which showcases a smart, funny, spunky Beauty with an unexpected twist to her personality.

Also, one of my favorite fairy tales growing up was "Snow White and Rose Red," if you're interested!

I can't wait to read stories to my future kids and I hope they enjoy my stories as much as your children enjoy yours!

07.4.2010 | Unregistered Commentermarlee

Hate princesses too. LOVE Jan Brett. She has a couple awesome animal related books - can't remember the titles but they are the best. She is so unbelievably talented.

07.11.2010 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

Wow, my mum used to read me that exact book. Nothing is better than being read to as a child. You remember it forever, total safety, total comfort, total love.

07.12.2010 | Unregistered CommenterHolly Rose

I adored this book as a child. I loved the illustrations, and I can't believe how well I remember it after seeing this photo!

08.8.2010 | Unregistered Commentercarrie

I don't know if you've read it, but Lauren Child's version of the Princess and the Pea is a fantastic antidote to Disney princesses! Even my rabble of boys love it!

08.20.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJosie

Hi! I am a bit behind times, but had to give some advice concerning the hair issue. I have long, fine and wavyish hair myself, and pnelty of it to boot (super tangle conditions), and remember the dreaded hair combing times as a child, that is, until I discovered the best trick in the world (I still use it today). Take a firm grip on all or some of the hair (depends how long it is) and comb or brush it from the bottom up in portions (i.e. start by brushing tha bottom inch of the hair, then brush the bottom two inches, then the bottom three until you are done), always brushing/combing all the way through in order to comb out the tangles. By the time you have worked yourself up to the hand, most of the tangles should be gone, loosen your grip and keep brushing/combing the hair in portions until you have reached the top of the head. It works wonders and can be used even on shorter hair (though you need to be able to grip it, if it's really short, you have to grip it in sections). Off course, if she has really short hair, then a baby hair brush with slightly harder bristles migt be better, but still brush from the bottom ut. If Bee has thick hair, a brush with teeth (preferrably wooden and rounded at the tip) rather that bristles might do the trick. Hope that helps, I hate to see poor children crying and wincing all through hair combing time.

10.19.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMims

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