Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror
Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror

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Annotation: Here are princesses for the Rebel Girls generation: bold, empowered, and determined to be true to themselves.
Catalog Number: #218570
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: W. W. Norton
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Illustrator: Corry, Lydia,
Pages: 217 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-324-01556-X Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8279-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-324-01556-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8279-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019049687
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Subject Heading:
Princesses. Fiction.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Strung loosely together under the premise that an enchantress is using a magic mirror to learn about princesses all around the world and throughout time, eight lovely short stories are presented in a way that feels at once fresh and familiar. Each princess featured is the sort who saves herself, and some of the stories hint just enough at a classic tale that readers will feel completely at home. Female friendships and empowerment, diversity as a given, and Corry's gorgeous, full-color watercolor illustrations deliver the whole package. Digestible in bits or all at once, this is one that readers will return to over and over again for inspiration. As the book closes, the enchantress asks the magic mirror to tell her what it learned about being an excellent princess. Its reply is that they are "brave and fierce and loyal, with big dreams, and even bigger hearts, and such a thirst for the world." In short, they are "excellent people."
Horn Book
The framing structure for this collection of princess stories is elaborate. When an enchantress is invited to be the godmother to a princess, she realizes that she doesn't know what qualities a true princess should embody, so she sends her magic mirror on a quest, across the world and across centuries, to observe princesses and come up with a definition of princess-ly excellence. As the enchantress loses and finds the mirror, we move from one folktale-inflected setting to another -- medieval Europe, North Africa, Scotland, the Amazon -- all reminiscent of the old-fashioned tradition of "fairy tales from many lands," there as here unsourced. The eight stories feature heroic princesses who are physically brave, rebellious, cheeky, intellectually curious, empathetic, and attuned to the natural world. They save their communities from attack, they rescue those in peril, they stand up for themselves, they speak truth to power. They find satisfaction, acceptance, and love. The writing is jaunty, and the lushly illustrated and decorated pages are full of movement, detail, and character. The point here is obviously an antidote to the glitter-and-big-hair trope of the pop-culture princess, but the illustrator does throw a sop to princess enthusiasts with her generous use of pink. Sarah Ellis
Kirkus Reviews
One mirror ties the stories of eight princesses together.The princess glut in today's media—especially the contemporary threads of the "girl power" ones, such as the entrepreneurial Tiana in Disney's Princess and the Frog and the warrior princesses like said studio's Mulan and Merida from Brave—might make readers roll their eyes at another. However, the author ties this enchanting European-heavy multicultural cast of preteen royalty together through the narrative device of a confidence-boosting enchanted mirror. It all begins when the looking glass, which once hung on an enchantress's wall, flippantly tells its owner that it knows nothing about princesses' attributes. The enchantress shrinks the mirror to compact-size and sends it on a time- and alternate-world-spanning adventure to places coded, from the characters' names such as Héloïse and Ellen, Leila al'Aqbar, Abayome, Tica, Anya, and Zarah, and other details, as continental Europe, War and Peace-era Russia and Paris, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and New York City. The author deftly weaves the arc of the mirror's fantastic journey into each girl's journey of self-discovery, from becoming a nation's herbal healer to an anti-gentrification activist. Best of all, though the mirror is a device, it is not a gimmick thanks to the author's engaging plot and the illustrator's evocatively playful, full-colored drawings that border each story.These tales are enchanting in both their realness and their whimsy. (Fantasy. 9-12)
Publishers Weekly
Filled with varied expressions of what it means to excel, culturally diverse fairy tale imaginings by Farrant (The Children of Castle Rock) pair with Corry-s naïf-style illustrations to present a series of episodic stories bound together by a single object. When an enchantress employs her magic mirror to discern, for her goddaughter-s benefit, the ways to become an -excellent princess,- the mirror-made pocket-size-visits young women in various locales and eras, all of whom are people who get things done. Princess Héloïse undertakes a forest quest to save her sickly sister, Princess Tica must decide how to handle a beloved crocodile, and Princess Abayome-s world is upended by her father-s new wife. From Russian royalty fallen on hard times to a young activist living in a concrete apartment building, each must identify what makes her unique and use those traits to overcome her obstacles. Joyful retellings of time-honored fairy tales to inspire and challenge a new generation. Ages 9-12. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 47 "What makes a princess excellent?" an enchantress ponders when she is asked to be godmother to a royal princess. When her enchanted mirror cannot give her a satisfactory answer, she shrinks it down to compact size. She then sends it out into the world to be her eyes and ears as it observes princesses across lands and centuries, in order to decide on the right gift for the newborn. As the mirror travels, it is lost, found, and both treasured and ignored for many years by eight different princesses. There is Heloise, who uses the magic in the mirror to become a great healer and save her dear sister's life; Laila, who bravely saves her father's kingdom from an enemy's attack; and Saoirse, who discovers her true talent is collecting stories for future generations. Each princess possesses inner strength and tenacity, refuting the notion that princesses must be merely fair and obedient. There are through lines connecting each tale, and when the mirror finally returns to the enchantress, it relates all that it has seen. It informs the enchantress that it is not through titles or being gifted by others that true princesses emerge; it is integrity, dedication, and self-awareness. Even readers who eschew fairy tales will find adventure and sweet surprise in these tales of royals who rebel against the stereotypes of their position. Prominent throughout the stories are Corry's whimsical color illustrations. The fanciful drawings bring characters and landscape to life, and they are a delightful accent to the tales. VERDICT Readers will find these stories of brave, determined young ladies inspirational as well as engaging.Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
One mirror ties the stories of eight princesses together.The princess glut in today's media—especially the contemporary threads of the "girl power" ones, such as the entrepreneurial Tiana in Disney's Princess and the Frog and the warrior princesses like said studio's Mulan and Merida from Brave—might make readers roll their eyes at another. However, the author ties this enchanting European-heavy multicultural cast of preteen royalty together through the narrative device of a confidence-boosting enchanted mirror. It all begins when the looking glass, which once hung on an enchantress's wall, flippantly tells its owner that it knows nothing about princesses' attributes. The enchantress shrinks the mirror to compact-size and sends it on a time- and alternate-world-spanning adventure to places coded, from the characters' names such as Héloïse and Ellen, Leila al'Aqbar, Abayome, Tica, Anya, and Zarah, and other details, as continental Europe, War and Peace-era Russia and Paris, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and New York City. The author deftly weaves the arc of the mirror's fantastic journey into each girl's journey of self-discovery, from becoming a nation's herbal healer to an anti-gentrification activist. Best of all, though the mirror is a device, it is not a gimmick thanks to the author's engaging plot and the illustrator's evocatively playful, full-colored drawings that border each story.These tales are enchanting in both their realness and their whimsy. (Fantasy. 9-12)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews (4/1/20)
ALA Booklist (4/1/20)
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (4/1/20)
Word Count: 25,940
Reading Level: 5.5
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.5 / points: 4.0 / quiz: 508495 / grade: Middle Grades

"Mirror, mirror on the wall . . . what makes a princess excellent?" When an enchantress flings her magic mirror into our universe, its reflection reveals princesses who refuse to be just pretty, polite, and obedient. These are girls determined to do the rescuing themselves. Princess Leila of the desert protects her people from the king with the black-and-gold banner; Princess Tica takes a crocodile for a pet; Princess Ellen explores the high seas; Princess Abayome puts empathy and kindness above being royal; and in a tower block, Princess saves her community's beloved garden from the hands of urban developers. Connecting these stories is the magic mirror, which reveals itself when each girl needs it most, illuminating how a princess's power comes not from her title or beauty, but from her own inner strength. These beautifully imagined stories, complemented by vibrant and inviting artwork, offer the pleasure and familiarity of traditional tales with refreshingly modern themes.

The enchantress and the magic mirror
The princess and the knights
The desert princess
The princess of absolute loveliness
The princess of the high seas
The princess and the crocodile
The story princess
The princesses in exile
The princess in the tower
The magic mirror and the enchantress.

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