Whenever I get to spend the day with my two-year-old niece we like to do princessy things. We dress up and put earrings on (I hang the earrings over the top of her ear). We also love to dance with flowing scarves, have tea parties and read princess books. One time we even put on make-up since I was getting ready for a date with my husband. She told me she was going on a date too and she asked me to put black eye shadow on her eyes. I said “How about light pink instead?” She squinted her eyes real tight and I dotted on a tiny amount.
I am always careful to say things like “we’re being fancy”. I try not to say that this makes her “pretty”, because she’s beautiful without any accessories. Playing dress-up is just for fun, but I also feel that we are participating in an ancient tradition of women, adorning and decorating ourselves. I’m not sure where it comes from, but I think this princess is in all of us.
This year we were fortunate to be able to attend Cinderella at the Thomaston Opera House. Part of the fun was they asked all the princesses & princes in the audience to walk across the stage and meet the King & Queen. My niece was awarded a Princess Certificate. (I think I was the most excited about this!)
Here are some library materials I’ve gathered for “babysitting kits”. Mix these with some sparkly shoes and a flowing scarf and you’re all set for a princess night-in! Occasionally my niece has stayed with me into the evening hours and I must admit I’ve resorted to a few princess movies as well. But what else is Princess Auntie to do?
Here are some of my niece’s Princess Picks. These are labeled good for ages 4-8, but I think many other princesses in the 2-3 year-old range will enjoy them as well:
Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper by Charles Perrault (translated into English by Marcia Brown). The classic fairy tale, beautifully written. And Disney’s Cinderella DVD. I loved this movie when I was a little girl too. My niece’s favorite part is when the birds give Cinderella a shower. (And she’s sad when the stepsisters tear her dress off).
Angelina and the Princess by Katharine Holabird. Angelina always has a special lesson to learn in each story. In this story she gets to meet a princess. There are many Angelina Ballerina books and DVDs, including Rose Fairy Princess DVD. My niece especially likes when Angelina dances.
Tea for Ruby by Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York: A sweet book about minding your manners when you go have tea with the Queen. There’s a surprise ending. Ruby’s dress is my niece’s favorite part.
Princesses are Not Quitters by Kate Lum. Three bored princesses find out how hard it is to be a servant. My niece likes it when the Princess Mellie throws her toast on the ground.
Other good princess books for ages 4-8:
Many Moons by James Thurber. A tale about a princess who wished for the moon, and the story of the jester who knew how to give it to her.
The Flower Fairies Friends Series: Whether it’s Pippa le Quesne’s Wild Cherry Makes a Wish and Zinnia’s Magical Adventure, or Rose’s Special Secret and Lavender’s Midsummer Mix-Up by Kay Woodward, the flower fairies are always up for an adventure. Each of the different flower fairies has a special magical talent in these chapter books.
Thumbelina by Hans Christian Anderson was one of my favorite stories when I was a little girl. She was my favorite fairy princess and it was so magical how she lived in a flower. This one I would recommend that you read with caution to children as there are some disturbing elements.
If your princess is a little older, here are some fun princess books for the age 9-12 range:
The Barefoot Book of Princesses by Caitlin Matthews & Olwyn Whelan. This book is an interesting selection of fairy tales from around the world, a princess for every country.
The Royal Diaries Series: Each chapter book is written by a different author. Sondok, Princess of the Moon & Stars, Korea, 595 AD; Weetamoo, Heart of the Pocassets, Massachusetts – Rhode Island, 1653; Mary, Queen of Scots, Queen without a Country, France, 1553… These stories are all based on real princesses, though they are historical fiction. These books are educational themselves, and they also inspire further learning.
Enchanted: The story starts out as an animated fairy tale, but then the princess magically finds herself stuck in real-life New York City. It’s fun to see how a fairy princess acts in the city, especially when she recruits the mice and birds to help her clean house.
Princess Jesse is currently humming A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes…