Eight princesses and a magic mirror by Natasha Farrant

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Illus. by Lydia Corry. Zephyr, 2019. ISBN: 9781788541152. 209pp., hbk.
Mirror, mirror on the wall . . . what makes a princess excellent?' The enchantress's mirror travels through time, from east to west, to find the answer. Reflected in it are princesses who refuse to be pretty, polite or obedient. These are girls determined to do the rescuing themselves. The Arabian princess of the desert protects her people from the king with the black and gold banner; Latin American Princess, Tica, takes a crocodile for a pet; a Scottish princess explores the high seas; African Princess, Abayome, puts empathy and kindness above being royal; and in a tower-block, a Princess saves her precious community garden from the hands of greedy urban developers.
While the traditional princesses of familiar fairy tales still remain popular with many girls, others are demanding stories about those who are not helpless and dreaming of the handsome prince to rescue them and live happily ever after. So this collection of original stories about princesses who are bold, empowered, full of curiosity, adventure and determined to be true to themselves will appeal to those ready to move beyond Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora and company. With its relatively short meaty stories and full colour illustrations, it is perfect for newly independent readers and with the magic mirror connecting the stories throughout it has a continuity that encourages them to keep reading each new adventure.
Something different to entice readers into the library for a new year of reading adventures or to suggest to parents looking for something a bit different to share at bedtime.
Barbara Braxton