Princess Smartypants Book Poster Image

Princess Smartypants



A high-spirited tale full of humor.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

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.

Kids say

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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.

Families can talk 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?

Book details

Author:Babette Cole
Illustrator:Babette Cole
Genre:Fairy Tale
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1986
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

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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.