The Fairy's Mistake: The Princess Tales, Book 1

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Fairy's Mistake: The Princess Tales, Book 1 Book Poster Image
A fairy's reward and punishment backfire.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The greedy, selfish, mean sister uses her punishment as a reward by blackmailing others into giving her whatever she wants. The good sister agrees to marry a prince just to get out of the house.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the behavior of both sisters is filled with points for discussion, as the bad sister gets what she wants through blackmail, and the good sister marries a man she does not love.

User Reviews

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Kid, 12 years old February 24, 2013


great to teach kids about the importance of thinking before the speak or thinking about thier actions.
Teen, 13 years old Written bymargle October 13, 2009

Great for tweens....

I think this book is really funny and most girls would love it. The rest of this series is really good too.

What's the story?

Rosella helps the fairy, Ethelinda, disguised as an old woman, get a drink of water from the well, and is rewarded by having jewels tumble from her mouth whenever she speaks. Her selfish sister, Myrtle, is punished with bugs and snakes coming out of her mouth. But Ethelinda's plans backfire when Myrtle uses her affliction to force townspeople to give her whatever she wants, while Rosella is married to a greedy prince who only loves her jewels.

Is it any good?

The author's light sense of humor and deadpan descriptions of absurdities, along with the short length and easy-to-read text, make this a delightful snack rather than a heavy meal. But she never talks down to her audience, which makes this a good choice for young readers, reluctant readers, and reading aloud. This is the first of The Princess Tales, a series of short retellings of fairy tales by the Newbery-honored author of Ella Enchanted

Some may find the values here a little questionable: Myrtle's outrageous behavior is never punished, bringing success to her and her nasty mother. She even helps Rosella deceive the prince to get him to behave somewhat better, but he still gets to keep half of the jewels Rosella produces, while she gets to give the rest to the poor. But it's all meant in fun, and it's unlikely any young readers will take Myrtle as their role model.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the fairy's reward and punishment are exploited. Do you think she could have foreseen the consequences? Would you be happy if jewels fell out of your mouth every time you spoke?

Book details

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