The Secret Lives of Princesses

What do you think when you hear the word ‘princess’? With the recent Royal wedding announcement, there will be a whole generation of little girls playing ‘make-believe’ Princess Kate. If you are like my three-year-old daughter, being a princess means a lot of accessories – the more bling, the better and a tiara is compulsory. However, there is a whole other world of princesses just waiting to be discovered.

I will warn you from the outset that it was difficult for me to put together a brief, succinct review of The Secret Lives of Princesses by Philippe Lechermeier and Rébecca Dautremer – it is so packed with humour, imagination and little pearls of wisdom that I could have easily ended up reprinting the whole book here as quotes. And then there’s the sensational illustrations. So I’ve been selective but know that the sections I have highlighted represent only a tiny portion of this fantastic book.

I was drawn to Princesses at a glance – it’s large, vibrantly coloured and has thick, varnished pages with a magazine layout – there’s a princess story on each double page as well as all sorts of extras – diagrams, definitions, pull-out quotes, maps and more. It is one of those books that you can read again and again, dipping in here and there although some pages will become favourites – I’m partial to the diagrams of various ‘Palaces and Residences’ (from the “Basic Model with options: balcony, front steps, four towers and terrace with cherubs” to the more modern Manhattan Walk-up) whereas my daughter likes the “International Alphabet of Fans” page which features some useful fan codes for “Do you want to marry me?” and “I’m going out to buy bread”.

There are more than thirty princesses described in the book, complete with all their quirky details – meet Princess Molly Coddle (“She’s a real handful”), Princess Anne Phibian, Princess Oblivia and Princess Thimelina who “…can sometimes get a little bit silly, mostly at night. The only solution, a lullaby sung by a pink rhinoceros, which sets everything right.”

Toward the end of the book is an extensive section on the practicalities of being a princess, including a helpful guide to spotting a true princess from a fake one – “A true princess never wears socks, not even in the middle of winter. Without exception, all princesses sing in the bath. Princesses are sometimes grumpy. A true princess rarely takes off her crown – only when she sleeps, showers, or plays sports.” Hmmm – sounds like my daughter is a true princess after all.

Signing off as Her Stately Gleefulness, Princess Katrina, Salient Sashayer of Melbourne (that’s my secret princess name).

Find The Secret Lives of Princesses at The Book Depository for $25.15, including delivery.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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