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The Practical Princess and Other Liberating Fairy Tales
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The Practical Princess and Other Liberating Fairy Tales

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  215 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The practical princess is not your regular wimpy princess. In fact, she couldn't be more different: no swooning, getting saved from dragons, or being whisked off by handsome princes. She knows what she wants and just how to get it.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published September 15th 1994 by Scholastic Hippo (first published 1969)
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Average rating 4.44  · 
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 ·  215 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Some of the first reinvented, reconsidered fairy tales I ever read, and still among the best. Whimsical, edifying, funny and cohesive. The beautiful silhouette illustrations only add to its many charms.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone w/anyone to read to or for themself
Recommended to Pam by: Parents Magazine
Shelves: finished-reading
I bought this book in the early 1980's so that my new born daughter would have a different kind of fairy tale for me to read to her and her to read later on her own.
It's full of royal women who can think, act and rescue not just themselves, but sometimes the hapless Prince.
We also read "regular" fairy tales as I believe that magical thinking is also important. I grew up before Title IX, so being a "hero" in an arena for a female was not a great possibility, but did happen. This book may be
I remember reading these tales when I was really young. At first, I thought that I would not like the book because I thought it would be too feminist (I like a princess in distress) but I was wrong. The stories are very original and keep you hooked. The princess are very smart, beautiful and "normal". The book is full of riches and beauty. I really like how they describe the places, instead of saying go to the desert, they say, "a land where the trees have leaves but no branches and where the ...more
Jul 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fantasy
Another set of short fairy tales (six of them), this one for much younger readers. The heroines in this are feisty and interesting and actually DO something, which is always a nice change.

They're aimed at pre-teens so were a little too obvious for me to fully enjoy. I wanted more from each of the stories, which is testament to the interesting ideas and engaging characters, although frustrating in the long run.

Definitely something I'd give my nieces though!
Tredyffrin Children
"All of the princesses in this collection of original tales are smart and funny, and certainly not waiting around to be rescued - they go forth to rescue themselves and others. I highly recommend it to anyone whose kids are obsessed with princesses - it's a lovely counterpoint to the Disney version of what a princess is and should be, without being dull or preachy."
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who wants to know a lot of the secrets of my personality should read this book. The idea is so cliche - like the "politically correct" fairly tales - up-ending gender roles and what-not, but really, I wanted to be all these girls, beautiful, sensible and heroic. To rescue the prince from an enchanter but then run off with the enchanter instead. That's awesome!
Aug 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
I loved this book as a girl. All of the princesses are smart and funny, and certainly not waiting around to be rescued - they go forth to rescue themselves and others. I highly recommend it to anyone whose kids are obsessed with princesses - it's a lovely counterpoint to the "Disney" version of what a princess is and should be, without being dull or preachy.
One of my favorites growing up, but couldn't remember the title. I think this was my first introduction to silhouettes. This may still be at my mother's house, but I intend to at least put a slip of paper with my name on it inside.
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved these stories when I was a kid. Loving them just as hard as an adult. They're a brilliant example of the classical form of a fairy tale, and they have great heroines who rescue themselves.
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I grew up with this book and I have an original copy that has a different cover.
Alexandra Pearson
I remember how much I adored this book when I was a kid and it's still really good. It's always refreshing to read a fairy tale where the princess is allowed to be smart and save the prince. The only trouble is that now I want more. Every one of these stories ends up with the princess getting married. That's still her main function and desire. Maybe it's time for an update where the princess rescues herself and lives happily ever after.
Shayla Schlaraffenland
I grew up with this collection; it was one of the first chapter books I read on my own, so it holds a special place in my heart. My personal favorite story of this collection was Petronella.
I love the princesses in this story - they're all very individual, well-developed characters. They work their way through their own issues, and even though they do accept help whenever they need it, they are the ones who overcome challenges due to their intelligence, kindness, and inner strength.
Toni Iguain
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book to anyone with children. The fairy tales are funny. I loved it as a kid and wore it out. I recently repurchased it used (is it out of print) and am reading them to my son. Even though it was targeted to the women's lib movement (hence the title), the stories Feature smart girls who may or not also be pretty. My son has enjoyed it so far. I wish I would have replaced it when my daughter's were younger!
Sarah Clapp-Work
Take everything you know about fairy tales and flip it on its head. This is a refreshing series of short stories that throw perfectly likable characters into hot messes and every time you think you know what is going to happen next based on all other popular and main stream fairy tales, the story spins in a more realistic, holistically fresh plot twist and ending.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As the title implies, these fairy tales are far more interesting than the usual hero-and-damsel type story. They are fun and surprising, and the writing is witty.
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
2015 Reading Challenge

- A funny book
- A book of short stories
- A book set in a different country
- A book you can finish in a day
- A book from you childhood
- A book with magic

Amusing short stories with smart characters. I just wish it didn't have the typical marry-the-first-person-you-meet fairy tale tripe. Otherwise, cute book.
Amanda Cook
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Fun, fast read. It took about an hour. A great way to lighten the mood after reading a heavier, intense book ("Ender's Game"). Although I don't have any daughters, I may get a copy someday to read to my boys when they're a bit older. We need more fairy tales with practical, sensible princesses...and absent-minded princes.
Elizabeth S
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Six short stories that are short and perfect. Gotta love a princess named Bedelia who deals with dragons in a very practical way. And a knight who didn't really want to go on a quest (it would be bad for his health) but manages to defeat the enchanter and then discovers it was the wrong castle. Whoops. Read and enjoy!
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read these stories to my girls....not only do they laugh out loud at the escapades of the (usually) hapless prince but they really identify with the intelligent, practical princesses.

Highly recommended for reading to young impressionable princesses.
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely love this book! It was one of my favourites as a child, and it's lost none of its magic over the passage of time. In my opinion a fairytale is a timeless classic - exactly what we have here. Love the gorgeous illustratations too. My only complaint is I'd like more!
Rhian Pritchard
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ah, I love fairytales, and these were especially wonderful! Very entertaining. I wish I'd had these to read when I was younger!
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Empowering fairy tales where the princess is in charge and the savior. Will definitely get this to read to both my son and daughter.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Liked the idea of a princess who didn't just sit about waiting to be rescued.
Apr 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Loved it.
Sep 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
The illustrations fascinated me the most. I don't even remember the story.
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read this as a young girl so many times that I had parts of it memorized.
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
An intriguing read which really takes the classic fairytale sandwich and just changes up the filling a little (but for the better) :)
rated it really liked it
May 28, 2015
rated it liked it
Nov 17, 2017
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

Jay Williams (May 31, 1914–July 12, 1978) was an American author born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Max and Lillian Jacobson. He cited the experience of growing up as the son of a vaudeville show producer as leading him to pursue his acting career as early as college. Between 1931 and 1934 he attended the