The Ordinary Princess
Goodness me this was my favourite book when I was a little pesky girl. It was a pearl of wonder amongst all the girly princess pink frothiness that girls were supposed to like. You see I never was one of those girls.
I had skinned knees and bruised shins and chipped nails (that probably had dirt underneath them).
My favourite clothes were warm and loose enough for me to be able to climb trees in. They were often mucky and a little torn but that was ok because play in my house meant real play - I truly never owned a tea set!
The Ordinary Princess was written by M.M. Kaye who you'll probably remember wrote The Far Pavilions (the film of which I adored as a child). This book had so many wonderful facets to it, I'll try to share as many as I can here for you to encourage you to go and buy the book to read to yourself and/or your daughter (who I hope has skinned knees and dirty nails too!)
Amy is christened Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne of Phantasmorania! Like all good fairy tales, her parents invite fairies to the christening and Amy receives gifts from each one. To her parents shock, her mad godmother fairy Crustacea bestows on her the gift of "ordinariness".
Reaching her teenage years, no one who meets her first will marry her as she was soooo ordinary. So her parents come up with the idea that they should offer the challenge of slaying a dragon to rescue her as an attractive proposition to potential suitors. Upon learning this, Amy runs away and comes to another land where she lives in a forest and makes animal friends.
When she realises her clothes are falling apart she realises she needs a job to make some money to buy new clothes and she applies to work in the kitchens of a nearby castle as fourteenth assistant kitchen maid. She makes a new friend, Peregrine, who is "a man of all work" and she introduces him to her forest friends.
The rest I shall leave to you to read and find out because I don't want to spoil it for you xx
This story has stayed with me for decades. It sums up my childhood need to be "just me" and not someone else's frothy pink girlish expectations. I have always just been me - and often been rebuffed for it - in fact one thing I've definitely heard too much of is "Shush now Jodee". I love who I am and my energy and my vibe and this book helped me see at a young age that's it was absolutely ok to be myself and not tow the line.