The Princess Tales – Book Review

I borrowed The Princess Tales: Volume One by Gail Carson Levine from the Logan County Library on 11/6/2009. When I finally read it on 12/1/2009, I loved it! Perhaps I’m a little biased though because I thoroughly enjoy almost all fairy tales, both the originals and the retellings. Levine did not disappoint me with hers.

4 stars out of 5

My love affair with fairy tales isn’t something new, but it was pretty much comatose for a good 10 years. Then, in 2007, I selected “Myth and Fairy Tales” as one of my electives in college and the affair was transformed into a bona fide relationship. That class, its textbooks, and the papers I had to write were lightning bolts of inspiration. And they helped me hear my muse for the first time in years. (She and I finally formed a lasting bond about a year later when I enrolled in “Think Sideways”, but that’s another post.) Ever since that class in college, I’ve read any and all fairy tales I could get my hands on.

So I selected Princess Tales purely on the fairy tale aspect, not knowing its author, while browsing the kids section with my daughter. I don’t normally go in that section with a list and prefer to simply go stack-by-stack when I’m on the hunt for something new. I’ve found the best little treasures and surprises doing it that way. Of course, I do have lists or an author in mind on occasion, but usually, I like to wing it.

Then a couple of weeks later, my daughter and I watched Ella Enchanted on TV. I’d been meaning to watch it for years but just hadn’t gotten around to it because I prefer to spend the majority of my movie time getting the pants scared off me by horror films. Watching the movie, I remembered hearing it was based on a book. And being one to read the book upon which a movie is based – usually before, but sometimes after I’ve watched the movie – I thought I better look it up. Lo and behold, Ella Enchanted was written by Levine, and it just so happened I had one of her books waiting in my “To Read” pile. I was stoked. I read The Princess Tales in about 2 1/2 hours in one sitting. She puts her own spin on oldies like “Diamonds and Toads,” “The Princess and the Pea,” and “Sleeping Beauty.”

While Levine’s retellings have a “happily ever after” feel to them, and I tend to prefer the dark side of fairy tales, I still had fun. Plus, I could tell these tales were written with kids or young adults in mind. They were quick and funny yet suspenseful and heartwarming. Her humor and faithfulness to the originals, in that their lessons remain intact, are the top two reasons I will definitely keep Gail Carson Levine in my mental file of authors to follow. And I most definitely want to check out her newer books, especially Fairest.

Have you read any books by Gail Carson Levine? Care to share your thoughts on them? Then please post a comment below and let me know what you think.


If you’d like to purchase The Princess Tales on Amazon, click here.

If you’d like to purchase the book directly from the publisher, click here.

And, if you’re a writer, you definitely have to check out Levine’s blog because it’s full of helpful tips and useful information.


Fairy tale lover? Then you have to visit the below web sites.

SurLaLune – I discovered this web site when it was assigned in the “Myth and Fairy Tales” class I mentioned above. The site has annotated fairy tales, histories behind the stories, a discussion forum, and there’s even a blog! Plus, you can buy fairy tale themed items from the SurLaLune store to help support all of the free web site content. I bought their “Fairy Tales Not Just for Kids” hoodie last year and next on my wish list is the “Do Not Be Deceived By Appearances” blue baseball style t-shirt.

[Side note: I’m an admitted t-shirt addict. My “I haven’t been quite right since they took away my blankie” t-shirt never fails to get a reaction from people, and thankfully that reaction is usually a giggle, especially when I tell them I was 10 when my blankie was taken away. The same age the sonsabitches made me stop sucking my thumb.]

Diamonds and Toads – Whether you’re researching for a class or your own writing, this site is a wonderful resource. They also have a fabulous blogroll so be sure to check it out in the left sidebar.

The Enchanted Conversation – Please help support this non-profit online magazine by visiting the site on a regular basis. Don’t forget to join the site as a “follower” in the left sidebar and tell all your friends about it.

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