This is truly exceptional book of stories about eight princesses all linked together by a magic mirror that comes into the possession of each princess. This has been sent out into the world by the enchantress that owns it to find out what makes a princess excellent. What we, and the enchantress, find out about princesses from different centuries, backgrounds and countries are that each princess is unique and each one challenges the traditional characteristics usually attributed to princesses in fairy tales. We also find out, that alongside their uniqueness, they are all not only connected by the magic mirror, but by the characteristics they display within their story. They are all brave, strong, defiant, kind, caring, determined and intelligent. This sends out a very clear message throughout the book: that beauty is not just about the way you look but the way you behave and treat others.
I was completely absorbed throughout this book as each story stands alone as a captivating short story, while at the same time leaving you wanting to find out where the magic mirror will end up next. This clever technique means it gives rich opportunities to discuss: how the stories are linked; how each of the princesses’ stories are similar to the others and then consequently how they differ. The stories also prompt and raise questions about society and how we behave towards each other.
This is a beautifully written collection of stories by Natasha Farrant that I immediately wanted to reread on finishing. The illustrations by Lydia Corry are utterly delightful too. The front cover, through to the contents and then each story is filled with colour illustrations on every page that bring the writing to life. Read aloud stories with much to think and discuss makes this a wonderful book to share.
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