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The Ordinary Princess

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  12,159 ratings  ·  1,343 reviews
Along with Wit, Charm, Health, and Courage, Princess Amy of Phantasmorania receives a special fairy christening gift: Ordinariness. Unlike her six beautiful sisters, she has brown hair and freckles, and would rather have adventures than play the harp, embroider tapestries- or become a Queen. When her royal parents try to marry her off, Amy runs away, and because she's so o ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by Corgi Yearling Books (first published 1980)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,159 ratings  ·  1,343 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This one's for all you fairy tale lovers out there. This is a straight-up, no-holds-barred fairy tale, with lovely princesses who wear crowns and beautiful gowns and genteelly toss golden balls to each other and never get dirty or sweaty —


. . . well, actually, this story is mostly about the youngest sister of those princesses, whose fairy g
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
I don't read many children's books, but I was drawn to this one by its very beautiful cover which was actually the work of the author. The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye The other illustrations in this edition were pleasant enough & done by Faith Jaques.

Princess Amethyst was expected to be given the same princessy gifts by the fairy godmothers as her six elder elder sisters - and she did indeed receive charm and wit and grace and courage. But then Crustacea, the most important fairy godmother arrived - & Crustacea was in A Very Bad Mood. She
Jun 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: girls ages 8-12
Shelves: childhood-faves
"Violets are blue,
Rosemary's green,
When I am King,
You shall be Queen"

This was my absolute favorite book when I was a young girl. Amy, a smart, plucky, decidedly NOT classically beautiful princess, is given at birth the magical gift of being "ordinary". Years later, Amy reaches marriageable age. Since she isn't beautiful and vapid, her parents are quite worried whether any prince will have her, and there's some rash talk of giving her as the prize in a dragonslaying
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who is tired of Shrek, Ella Enchanted, The Princess Diaries, etc.
Shelves: childrens-books
This was one of my favorite books as a child. I recently reread it in a fit of nostalgia.

I was disappointed that the fantastic 1986 cover has been replaced by some hot mess picture of an elven girl in a green dress. What happened to the 80's princess with freckles, frizzy brown hair, and a ridiculously ornate purple dress?

Reading the book as an adult, I was so relieved to read an earnest fairy tale for once. So many "fairy tale princess books" on the market are hideous, smarmy, wink-wink tales
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

Long and long ago, when Oberon was king of the fairies, there reigned over the fair country of Phantasmorania a monarch who had six beautiful daughters.
They were in every way all that real princesses should be, for their hair was as yellow as the gold that is mined by the little gnomes in the mountains of the north, their eyes were as blue as the larkspurs in the palace gardens, and they had complexions like wild rose petals and cream.

This is not their story! Barbie clones with perfect hair and improbably s[9/10]
October 2019 Reread:

I have still never read a book that's more delightful, lively, sweet, warm, bright, joyful, and heartwarming than this one. It's charming in every way, in the truest sense of the word. It's also whimsical and witty. It never fails to put a huge smile on my face, make me laugh, and fill my heart to bursting with warm and wonderful things.

I keep reading this darling novella again and again, and it will never get old. This month's reread was my second in less than

Mind you folks that this is straight up fairytale released in the 80's , and the target demographic are tweens, so the writing is more classic children's book than YA. I love this precious book nonetheless. This is a story of Princess Amy of Phantasmorania, who has mousy brown hair and a freckled nose, because she was gifted with ordinariness at birth (obviously,her fairy godmother was drunk). (view spoiler) ...more
Allison Tebo
From the authors note at the very beginning I was pulled into the most deliciously whimsical book. Five gloriously, shining stars for this amazing book (bumped it up one)– it is one of the sweetest stories I have read in a long time with a beautiful style, delightful characters, and a sweet and funny message. The beautiful and amazing illustrations are also absolutely charming. This was the perfect bedtime reading - so soothingly and fun.

What a joy fairy tales are! What a sadly overlooked and u
Oh my goodness, this was such a delightful book! I'm glad that I picked it up - sometimes it's easy to discount these kinds of books, but this one is a perfect example of why it's silly to do so.

Princess Amy is the seventh daughter of King Hulderbrand and Queen Rhodesia. All throughout history, the seventh daughter has been the most beautiful, the most extraordinary princess of them all - but not this time. This time, the most powerful Fairy, Crustacea, is out of patience when she arrives, dela
Lisa Vegan
Dec 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents and young kids (especially girls) & everyone
Recommended to Lisa by: Chelsea
Charming book. This would have been one of my favorite books had I read it as a kid. I found it both enchanting and fun to read, reading it for the first time as an adult. A must read for kids & adults, especially young girls & their parents. Love the twist on the standard fairy tale. The illustrations by the author are lovely.

I’ll be giving this as a gift to several little girls.
Deborah O'Carroll
First read: 4/16/2015

AAAAHHH I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Cute, sweet, hilarious, perfect... A whimsical, beautiful, original fairytale.

Definitely a favorite! I want to reread it already. Also the illustrations are absolutely fabulous.

I loved the plot, the humor, the total fairytale-feel, the Englishness, the Ordinary Princess herself, and of course Peregrine. How it all turned out was just awesome.

I. Adored. This. Book. <3

Re-Read: 2/26/2016

I first read The Ordinary P/>Re-Read:
As delightful as I remembered! The kids really liked it, too! This is sort of a rare thing these days, in that it's a romance for children. Princess Amy's age is never talked about, but the entire book she's trying to dodge a horrible arranged marriage, and falls in love on her own. Sweet and charming, and I'd forgotten what a hilarious satire it is of classic fairy tales.
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-fantasy
Quaint, witty and adorable fairy tale romance novella about an Ordinary but very likeable princess and how she finds her HEA. Would have give it 5 stars if only it wasn't a clean romance. 4.25 stars!
This was the sweetest story. It's very short, but that's just fine, and it has an innocence that is so hard to find these days.

Amy is such an endearing character. You sympathize with her at once (because so few off us are drop dead gorgeous) and wish her the best.

I first read this when I was eight, and I loved it. I read it again when I was fifteen, and discovered that I loved it even more than my eight-year-old counterpart did. And I still love it. That is probably the best way to tell
Courtney Johnston
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, own, favorites
Last night I was so tired that I found myself crying for pretty much no reason. Just those small soft tears that come out and surprise you. I'm five weeks into the job of my life (so far, anyway) and I was exhausted. And scanning my shelves for something soothing to take to bed - something that would both settle my mind and make me happy - I settled on 'The Ordinary Princess'.

I remember borrowing and borrowing this book from my primary school library; I can see even now the shelf it
Emma Clifton
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful and sweet little book! I do love epic stories with action and danger and adventure, but now and then, I need something that's just happy and adorable. This book is a perfect spring read!
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

Once upon a time, there was a faraway kingdom called Phantasmorania, ruled by a benevolent King and Queen. This happy royal couple was also blessed with the birth of six beautiful daughters, each princess more beautiful than the last, with rippling blonde hair, jewel blue eyes, and the fairest complexions of palest cream. And, each princess was given the name of a precious stone - Diamond, Opal, Emerald, Sapphire, Crystal, and Pearl. One fine day, the roy
Kellyn Roth
After reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, my mother and I decided to read this together because we needed something a little lighter. This is a sweet fairy tale in the style of all the Brothers Grimm stories, very light and amusing.

It's suitable for all ages with no content to speak of. The characters are all very amusing (and perhaps a little more well-developed than the ones in other fairytales). I especially like Amy and Peregrine and the King of Phantasmorania (or however you spell that cra
Sarah Marie
4 stars. This was a sweet and interesting take on challenging the concept of the beautiful fairy tale princess. Although, is she really ordinary if she has domesticated a squirrel and a cow to follow her around as pets? Review to come.
An adorable little fairy tale. I didn't know this facet of M. M. Kaye as a fairy tale teller and that she could draw, too.
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found in a charity shop, so reread again. Didn't know this as a child, but I've read it at least three times as an adult to try to make it up to young me.

Reminds me a bit of The 13 Clocks and Many Moons by James Thurber, or The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame or even The Light Princess by George MacDonald... if you like any in my list here, read the others too....
It's cute and sweet, with a worthy premise. It was released in the 1980's with a YA designation for teens?? To me, it would be preteen audience fare, even in that era.

Some of the names and the fairy tale grandiose designations for some of the under characters! I rather think this dates the whole and in an age tech ravaged children might not fly quite on the same path intended to this frolic. Maybe I'm wrong but it is SO simple a tale that the cutesy-cutesy names might seem almost babyish to the
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a cute and lovely book! This book is one of my favorite books because every time I read the book, I know that I will feel happy reading the book. I also love how the book is like a breath of fresh air. It's like the original fairy tales, but it is fun and light. It isn't dark like some fairy tales.
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairy-tales
A vintage treasure I found at a yard sale! Absolute adorable!
Grace Mullins
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awww, that was so cute!
Corinne Edwards
When the infant Princess Amethyst has the honor of being given a gift by a fairy, so many possibilities come to mind - beauty, kindness, patience. What NO one expected was the gift of being...ordinary. It’s hard to imagine how much this might throw a palace for a loop! As Amy grows and learns what she loves, she finds that it is mostly OUTSIDE the palace and when the opportunity arises to create a different life for herself, she grabs it.

This little pink paperback book was such a par
One of my all-time favorite books, and one I reread regularly. When Princess Amethyst is born, her (slightly creepy) agreeableness prompts the oldest and crankiest of the fairies to give her the gift of ordinariness. And what a gift! Amy's fate suddenly takes a sharp turn, which results in mistaken identities, dragons, fake portraits, jewelry made from trees, and grandly named woodland animals.

Charming, quirky, and one of those rare books that presents a fully-formed world quite remo
[Name Redacted]
Huh. Well, that was disappointing. I wonder if i might have thought this better had I not read so many variations of the same story before? The key problem I have is that the princess is ordinary in appearance only, not in character or wit or intellect. She's like so many other heroines in books of this stripe, books and tales which pre-date this story by decades if not centuries. And the ending? Typical of every story of this sort -- I was hoping for a tale in which the princess bucked the ster ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hadn't read this in years, but when I found it again, I finished it in one sitting. :)

I'm glad to find (and report) that this book is still as sweet, charming, and wonderful as it was when I first read it as a teenager. This is definitely a book that I'd want my daughter to check out, when she has the patience to read something more than a picture book.
Diane Lynn
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairy-tale
An interesting little fairy tale by one of my favorite authors. I bumped it up to 4 stars because of the wonderful illustrations by the author. I didn't know MM Kaye could draw so well. I think young girls would like this story.
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA tomboy princess unwittingly meets betrothed in woods. [s] 5 380 Feb 01, 2018 07:17PM  
AP Language SHS: Savannah Cochran A3 Summer Reading 3 7 Sep 29, 2017 03:13PM  
Retro Reads: The Ordinary Princess 13 20 Aug 17, 2017 03:20AM  
A book EVERY girl should read... 7 53 Nov 09, 2014 07:10PM  
Loved it cos she gets to ruin her dress & make a mess! 1 16 Mar 26, 2012 05:31PM  

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M. M. Kaye (Mary Margaret) was born in India and spent her early childhood and much of her early-married life there. Her family ties with the country are strong: her grandfather, father, brother and husband all served the British Raj. After India's independence, her husband, Major-General Goff Hamilton of Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (the famous Indian Army regiment featured in The Far Pav ...more
“...for though she was ordinary, she possessed health, wit, courage, charm, and cheerfulness. But because she was not beautiful, no one ever seemed to notice these other qualities, which is so often the way of the world.” 44 likes
“This story was written many moons ago under an apple tree in an orchard in Kent, which is one of England's prettiest counties . . . I had read at least twenty of the [fairy tales] when I noticed something that had never struck me before--I suppose because I had always taken it for granted. All the princesses, apart from such rare exceptions as Snow White, were blond, blue-eyed, and beautiful, with lovely figures and complexions and extravagantly long hair. This struck me as most unfair, and suddenly I began to wonder just how many handsome young princes would have asked a king for the hand of his daughter if that daughter had happened to be gawky, snub-nosed, and freckled, with shortish mouse-colored hair? None, I suspected. They would all have been of chasing after some lissome Royal Highness with large blue eyes and yards of golden hair and probably nothing whatever between her ears! It was in that moment that a story about a princess who turned out to be ordinary jumped into my mind, and the very next morning I took my pencil box and a large rough-notebook down to the orchard and, having settled myself under an apple tree in full bloom, began to write . . . the day was warm and windless and without a cloud in the sky. A perfect day and a perfect place to write a fairy story.” 43 likes
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