Once upon a Time 
submitted by Natalie

Who doesnít like a good unconventional princess story?



First up is a sparkly pink picture book by Deborah Underwood called, Part-time Princess. As you can probably gather from the cover itís not just about tutus and tiaras; this gal is a fire-breathing dragon consoling, angry troll soothing problem solving princess. She can have her tea party and take care of business too - but only after midnight! No damsels in distress here.



Moving towards an upper elementary audience is Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde. Itís a fractured version of the classic fairy tale "The Frog Prince" in which soon to be fourteen year old Princess Imogene is begrudgingly reading a book her mother suggested - The Art of Being a Princess - when she stumbles upon a talking frog. You think you know how the story goes, kiss the frog and it will turn into a prince but things donít happen quite the same way in this story. First of all, that frog definitely was not a prince. Second, Princess Imogene undergoes a little transformation of her own but not in that tender coming of age sort of way youíd expect.



Like the pop culture force of nature Twilight, Cinder by Marissa Meyer is targeted at high school aged girls but can meet the interests of a wider audience. In fact, after reading it myself, I recently suggested it for a 10 year old who had been bursting at the seams to read Twilight but much to her chagrin was not allowed. I thought that Cinder, which has a similar cover and book design as Twilight but with a more compelling story, might be a great consolation read that wouldnít make her father break out in a sweat.

Set in a dystopian future, Cinder is a cyborg mechanic outfitted with high tech gear able to detect when someone is lying as well as it can suggest that she take a deep breath. Now donít confuse her with a robot, Cinderís just a human girl just with a few upgraded adjustments. Living in the midst of a plague with a family who - like that of the original Cinderella - only has use for her when there was something to sweep up - or fix an electronic device thatís on the blink.

Cinder is approached by the eligible Prince Kai who needs her help fixing his android. Of course thereís an impending ball where the prince hopes to make a princess out of some lucky attendant but thereís also the threat of interplanetary war, an evil narcissistic Queen with superpowers, and an epidemic that is spiraling out of control. But there are no vampires. I promise.

If you are interested in more information about the authors or their works, you may also check out their websites:

Deborah Underwood - http://www.deborahunderwoodbooks.com
Vivian Vande Velde - http://www.vivianvandevelde.com
Marissa Meyer - http://www.marissameyer.com


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