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The Ordinary Princess

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  12,772 ratings  ·  1,438 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 ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published March 18th 2002 by Puffin Books (first published 1980)
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E. Wallace Without knowing anything about your specific definition of what "appropriate" is, yes. It's very G-rated. I'm currently reading it to a 1st-2nd grade …moreWithout knowing anything about your specific definition of what "appropriate" is, yes. It's very G-rated. I'm currently reading it to a 1st-2nd grade class and haven't needed to edit anything on the fly.(less)

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Average rating 4.19  · 
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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 godmother took one look at the list of all the gifts this princess received at her christening, like Charm and Courage and Grace and Wit, and promptly decreed,
Jun 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 challenge. She doesn't like th
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 V
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
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 h
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 six months. I
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it

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)
Luisa Knight
Here's a short and sweet little story!

Some people just never learn. But does anyone listen to the King when he warns them about inviting fairy godmothers to baby christenings? "You may have forgotten what happened to my great-great-great-grandmother, but I have not. Had to sleep for a hundred years, poor girl, and the entire court with her, and all because of some silly fairy-business at the christening."

The Queen assures him, though, that they have not left off or forgotten a single fairy on t
Allison Tebo
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
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. ...more
Oct 09, 2010 rated it liked it
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  (not getting friends updates) 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 (not getting friends updates) 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 Princess in April last year, a
2019 Review-5 Stars
I mean, her name is Princess Amy! What more could you want?
But also the book held up remarkably well and I positively adore this story. So cute. So wholesome.

Early Review-4 Stars
A sweet simple fairy tale!
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
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! ...more
Courtney Johnston
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, fiction, own
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 sat on. Year
Sarah Marie
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
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 if a b
Emma Clifton
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
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 crazy
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
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
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. ...more
Gail Carriger
Nov 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was my first understanding that fantasy could combine with humor. And the names! The names!
Anna Mussmann
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
This story of a princess whose fairy godmother grants her the gift of “ordinariness” is a fun, sweet little read. The author’s illustrations are charming. The tone is thoroughly vintage and British.

From an adult perspective, it’s interesting to see--frozen in time here, as it were--a cultural moment when girls were beginning to be encouraged to go out into the world and pursue their own interests and careers before settling down, but when finding one’s personal prince charming and getting marri
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. ...more
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....
[Name Redacted]
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children, fantasy
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
Grace Mullins
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awww, that was so cute!
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fairy-tales
A vintage treasure I found at a yard sale! Absolute adorable!
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA tomboy princess unwittingly meets betrothed in woods. [s] 5 382 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 54 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

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“...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.” 46 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.” 45 likes
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