Princess Smartypants

Book review by
Peter Lewis, Common Sense Media
Princess Smartypants Book Poster Image
A high-spirited tale full of humor.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kds will cheer for the resourceful heroine. The illustrations are as bright and fun as the writing and story.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byhockeygirl1489 January 22, 2012

Favorite book from childhood

I used the read this book all the time when I was little. It was nice to see a princess that didn't fit the Disney mold.

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What's the story?

This princess doesn't want to be a queen: She likes her motorcycle, her dragon pals, and freedom! In this feminist reworking of a classic fairy-tale theme, Princess Smartypants goes against her parents' wishes, outwits her suitors, and remains a happy single gal. The writing and the art are high-spirited and full of humor.


Is it any good?

A cast of goofy characters, meticulously rendered in ink and cheerful, gleaming watercolor, populate author/illustrator Babette Cole's artwork. There's also a wealth of funny details that keep busy eyes active.

Princess Smartypants may be a smart-aleck, but she's sincere and full of life and charm. Prince Swashbuckle is her perfect foil: urbane, traditional, and -- under all the suavity -- insincere. His efforts to win Princess Smartypants have more to do with ego than affection (one of the medals on his uniform is shaped like a pig, just the kind of detail that adds humor and depth to this feminist tale). The ending comes as a surprise. It seems Princess Smartypants has finally met her match, until she pulls that last trick out of her bag. A cry of "Yahoo!" went up during a read-aloud when a group of 5-year-olds came to this subversive moment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about fairy tales and their common elements. How are Princess Smartypants and Prince Swashbuckle different from characters in traditional fairy tales?

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