Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” as Want to Read:
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  187 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
A magic cloak. A hidden passage.

A secret underground world beyond imagining.

Night after night, the princesses mysteriously wear out their shoes. But how are they doing it? The baffled king promises a great reward to any man who can solve the mystery.

From the colorful flurry of the princesses? dressing room to a captivating nighttime scene on an underground lake, Rachel Isa
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 20th 2007 by Putnam Juvenile
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Twelve Dancing Princesses, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Sweetest Kulu by Celina KallukWhoosh! by Chris  BartonThe Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William KamkwambaHana Hashimoto Sixth Violin by Chieri UegakiThe Red Bicycle by Jude Isabella
Picture Books Starring People of Color
89th out of 194 books — 4 voters
Flora and the Flamingo by Molly IdleMax by Rachel IsadoraLong Powwow Nights by David BouchardFootwork by Roxane OrgillBallet for Martha by Jan Greenberg
Picture Books About Dance
85th out of 110 books — 12 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 310)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Another blahsome retelling of a Brothers Grimm story by Rachel Isadora. These retellings have all the personality of a wet paper bag. The artwork is cool, but what about the STORY? Kids want excitement and fun, not a Wikipedia synopsis.

Two questions here as well:
1) How are these princesses able to do this every single night? They are (presumably) awake all day, doing princessly things, and then all night long they traipse through the woods, dance until their shoes are worn through, and then tr
Natalie O'neill
Feb 11, 2014 Natalie O'neill rated it really liked it
This story is a version of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale that has been retold and set in an African setting by Rachel Isadora. The pictures are vibrant, and I believe they would definitely appeal to children. The story is about twelve princesses who are sisters. They go to bed each night as expected, but every morning, their shoes appear to be worn as if they were dancing the night away. Their father is determined to find out where they go at night, so he challenges suitors to figure it out. He te ...more
DyolF Dixon
Feb 08, 2015 DyolF Dixon rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Twelve Dancing Princesses as retold and illustrated by Rachel Isadora. This is a German folk tale written by The Brothers Grimm. There are at least 15 similar version in other European countries. Isadora retells the story in the setting of Africa. She uses illustrations that are very colorful and lively. Isadora down-plays most of the violent in original the story.
The plot is at a level for PreK-2. This story will give the young students some prior knowledge for the reading of future litera
DesMonet Cooper
Jul 19, 2015 DesMonet Cooper rated it it was amazing
The Twelve Dancing Princesses is a children's folklore book about 12 princesses who are locked in there chambers at night. Their father is very confused to the fact that in the morning the princesses shoes are worn out even though they should have been in their rooms. He becomes so curious that he offers their hands in marriage to the man who can figure out how the princesses are escaping each night.Many princes fail at finding out the whereabouts of the princesses at night. An old soldier uses ...more
Esther Moss
Book title: The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Reading level: unable to find online - judging by the text, it is likely a I or J level book
Book Level: This book would appeal to students in kinder-3rd grades

Book summary: In this multicultural take on the classic Grimm's fairy tale, the father of twelve princesses puts out a challenge to all eligible suitors - whoever can solve the mystery of why and how the princesses manage to wear out their shoes each night will meet with great reward.

Genre: traditi
Isadora's art is a gorgeous mix of bright colors and textures made with oil pastels and different kinds of paper. The text isn't anything particularly new, but setting the story in Africa works remarkably well and gives a nice twist to the story.
Kathleen Dixon
Aug 29, 2014 Kathleen Dixon rated it really liked it
The Grimms' fairy tale of the twelve dancing princesses is a fairly simple tale, and (of course, given the time in which it was originally told) solidly based in 'women-as-chattels'. I grabbed it from the library because Zenobia is fascinated by princesses. There's no point trying to fob her off with fairies or ballerinas - only princesses will do. So, it's a good opportunity to begin feminist critique. And yes, I know she's only 5, but you're never too young to begin learning critical thinking. ...more
Tabitha Kim
We all know that classic fairy tales are timeless, but The Twelve Dancing Princesses written by The Grimm Brothers and illustrated by Rachel Isadora, portray a typical fairy tale with a sweet twist! Magic cloaks? Unknown secrets? Hidden underground worlds? Who would’ve ever thought anyone could come up with such a unique tale like that! Every night, these twelve beautiful princesses seem to wear out their shoes and when morning comes, their father (the king) is very curious as to how this can be ...more
Elizabeth Bartos
A fun loving Brother Grimms fairy tale recaptured through the beauty of Rachel Isadora's collages. The African depiction of the story allows children to view a world that may not be known to them. The vibrant colors and organic shapes in the illustrations captures the culture of African people and styles of traditional African dress. This would be a great book to share with students who may be learning about other cultures around the world, while also reading a much beloved fairy tale.
I love these fairy tales redone by Rachel Isadora - the illustrations are fantastic! I initially purchased them just to add to our tall tale/fairy tale retellings for our jr. high library, but I like them so much, I may purchase for my home as well. While the story is very basic in the retelling, I think the illustrations and the added info most of them have adds to the appeal and worth.
Jun 15, 2016 Linda rated it liked it
This is a multicultural version of the old tale and not quite as gruesome and the original I read, although the premise is the same. This could be used to discuss how listening to others might be helpful, or how being brave has its rewards. It can be compared to the other versions as well. The drawing and designs are also very enjoyable.
Jun 17, 2011 Jess rated it liked it
Recommends it for: someone who loves this story
Recommended to Jess by: browsing folktale section
The king's 12 daughters slink away each night to an unknown place. Where do they go and why do they constantly need new shoes? If you can figure that out, you've got yourself a bride.

Rachel Isadora's illustrations rock. They're full of life and color, plus it's nice seeing something other than the traditional European-ish ballgowns and castle.

The story, however, I've always had problems with. Sneaking out to go dancing in fancy outsides? Fun. Drugging the people trying to catch you even though y
Esther Choi
Oct 30, 2013 Esther Choi rated it liked it
Shelves: traditional
The African king wants to figure out why his twelve princesses’ shoes are always worn out. He promises to give one of his daughters in marriage to whichever man can solve the mystery. One man wears a magic cloak of invisibility and follows the princesses down an underground tunnel where he finds the answer behind the mystery. This is a classic story that is retold with an African twist and the textures, patterns, and artwork really bring about a cultural experience. For upper grades, a good less ...more
Apr 18, 2015 Kim rated it it was amazing
A wonderful rendition of one of the Grimm Brothers stories. I loved the illustrations in this story, and how beautiful and colorful they are. Just an amazing story, and I would love to have as a mentor text for folklore in my classroom.
Andrea Campbell
Apr 06, 2015 Andrea Campbell rated it liked it
My favorite part of this book is the amazing imagery. The illustrations are so wonderful and bring the book alive. I gave the book three stars because I did not love the plot of the story.
Aug 05, 2014 Kat rated it liked it
Four stars for the illustrations (which were SO cool, and reminded me a lot of Eric Carle's work), two stars for the story.
Sharia A.
Oct 30, 2012 Sharia A. rated it it was ok
This book is about a king who tries to figure out what happens to his 12 daughters after night time so he hires a soldier to help him find where his daughters go. Throughout the book, the pictures are drawn brightly and sharp. This story would be a great way a teacher can explain African culture in the class and the type of land Africa has. This book also shows different facial features and jewels that other textbook/ children books to not display. I would recommend this book to other teachers b ...more
Feb 13, 2016 Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-kids, fairy-tales
Gorgeous illustrations but not the best retelling. Still really liked it though because of the illustrations.
Lauren White
Brothers Grimm story in African setting. Loved illustrations, not as impressed with story/translation.
Apr 01, 2016 Valerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: african
A traditional retelling of the story with
Robert J
Jan 27, 2015 Robert J rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 11-international
Wonderful story and beautifully illustrated.
Mar 03, 2010 Dolly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Our girls like to look up books on our library's online catalogue. This weekend our oldest looked up dancing. For fun, we borrowed a couple of versions of the Brothers Grimm story, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. This is a fun version of the tale, with an African theme that is mostly apparent through the illustrations, as the story is not modified much from the original. It's a shorter story overall than the other story we read and the bold, colorful illustrations are fun. We really enjoyed our l ...more
A retelling of the Brother's Grimm story, this takes place in an African kingdom and is an excellent example of how fairy tales have universal stories that can apply to multiple cultures.

This would be an excellent companion read to Brothers of the Knight by Debbie Allen and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

The illustrations are bright, bold collages with various textures and depth. They bring the African countryside and royalty to life, making this more than just another retelling of an obscure fairy
Oct 24, 2007 Joel rated it liked it
Shelves: fairytales
This classic Grimm brother’s tale is visually transported to Africa in this retelling. Unlike other adaptations of the Brothers Grimm's stories (see Sugar Cane below), Isadora does little to adapt the story or the text to its African locale. Instead she relies on her whimisical, brightly-colored collage illustrations to convey the setting. This is a good short introduction to this tale that makes for excellent bedtime reading. Recommended for ages 4-7.
Christy Brown
Nov 16, 2010 Christy Brown rated it really liked it
I really liked this book, the colors are so bright and the message that is written into the words. I also like the fact that the authors characters are not your average white male/female. He uses people from different backgrounds. It also brings into play differet culturs and that is a great message to our kids. I think that this would be a great book to read to my kids.
Apr 26, 2013 Annie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: K-4 grade

Every night, the twelve princesses somehow wear out their shoes. The king offers a reward to anyone who can figure out how. This is a remake of the Grimm fairytale as they bring the princesses to Africa. The unique retelling of the story will capture the readers attention. This would be a good book for children kindergarten through fourth grade.
This is one of the most basic tellings of the Twelve Dancing Princesses I have ever seen. It's as if the author/illustrator set out to lay down the facts of the story...and nothing else. There is nothing that distinguishes this story of any other except that the illustrations are of African Peoples.
Debbie Hayes-miller
Oct 14, 2008 Debbie Hayes-miller rated it really liked it
CIP summary "A retelling, set in Africa, of the story of twelve princesses who dance secretly all night long and how their secret is eventually discovered."
This book is very colorful and lively, illustrated with oil paints. This traditional story takes a twist with the African theme.
Feb 25, 2009 Jennifer rated it liked it
The artwork is lovely. The story is much reduced though, made for younger audiences. Some of the details I treasure from the original version were not included. I like how the setting is African. Isadora had a good time creating the paper she used to collage the story.
Terrible sexist story! The women are all happy but if the prince finds them he gets to marry whoever he wants! I guess this is a classic tale, so not the author's fault, but if she is retelling to empowerful African characters she could fix the moral, too, in my opinion!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Brothers of the Knight
  • Boys Who Rocked The World: Heroes from King Tut to Bruce Lee
  • La Princesa Dragon/the Loathsome Dragon (Cuadrada)
  • Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella
  • Oh My Gods!: A Look-It-Up Guide to the Gods of Mythology (Mythlopedia)
  • Tales from the Odyssey, Part 1 (Trade Bind-up)
  • Beautiful Blackbird
  • The Little Red Hen
  • Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad
  • The Korean Cinderella
  • Pretty Salma: A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa
  • The Turkey Girl : a Zuni Cinderella story
  • Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood
  • Red Riding Hood
  • The Three Bears Board Book
  • Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland
  • Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya
  • He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
Rachel Isadora is an award-winning children's author and illustrator. She has written children's books on multiple topics including ballet, life in America and Africa, and has illustrated several Brother Grimm tales in an African setting. She is most well-known for her Caldecott Honor Award book "Ben's Trumpet". She was a ballet dancer before she became an illustrator and children's writer.
More about Rachel Isadora...

Share This Book