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The Secret Lives of Princesses Hardcover – June 1, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 2-4–It is safe to say that this volume, purporting to be a guide to princesses, is unique. It is more catalog than storybook. Lechermeier has invented a variety of eccentric women, such as Princess Barbara of Babel, who "speaks a multitude of languages. All the time." Or Princess Claire Voyant, who "reads tarot cards, tea leaves, palms, even the feet of spiders." Also included are expositions on subjects ranging from four-poster beds to cat-o'-nine-tails and a quiz for would-be princesses. Dautremer illustrates the royal population with lush, fanciful paintings replete with teeny details that, if closely observed, reveal more secrets than the text. A certain sort of child may enjoy the wordplay and sly humor herein, but many will find this wacky compendium more frustrating than fun.Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

One thing is certain: these ain't no Disney princesses! Au contraire, this French import features about 30 royals who are quirky to a fault. There's Princess Hot-Head, a study in fiery red, who “prefers brandishing a sword to practicing the piano.” And Princess Molly Coddle, cousin to the fussy girl of “Princess and the Pea” fame, who “never hesitates to demand the impossible.” A detailed, imaginative guide—more akin to titles like Wizardology (2005)—this novelty book also features pages devoted to elaborate, witty commentary on proper cradle etiquette; each character's coat of arms; and various palace types. Dautremer's illustrations are perfectly attuned to the mood of each princess' prose portrait, by turns sophisticated and witty and full of odd angles and bizarre details. Princess Do-Re-Mi has the body type of a curvy violin; Princess Oblivia (“She forgets everything”) wears a hat full of holes that leaves blow through. A book to pore over. Grades 4-6. --Karen Cruze
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Grade Level: 2 and up
  • Hardcover: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781402766770
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402766770
  • ASIN: 1402766777
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 10.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I work in the children's department of my local bookstore, and the moment this hit our shelves I knew I had to buy it. I'm probably well beyond the age this was intended for (I'm twenty..) but the illustrations were so beautiful, I couldn't put it down. I'm really, really glad I made this purchase! This is one of the richest picture books I've ever seen, there are little details hidden on every page, so it's something you can look through again and again- you'll inevitably catch a detail you hadn't seen before. The writing style is charming but matter-of-fact... never condescending, but it will still hold the attention of young ones. (Example: the books definition of an Amazon is- "Princesses who hate princes. Feat on steak tartare... peerless horsewomen, they even sleep on their steeds. They frighten everyone and fear no one, not even the ogre, Offal the Awful.)

There are all sorts of intricate maps, colorful diagrams and little pieces of prose all over the page. I can't stress enough how much of a treasure this book is. I wish I could have so many of these princess portraits framed on my wall.

If you have a daughter who loves princesses (or even one who doesn't- the book is stunning but not pink and glittery as the cover might have you believe)... or if you're like me and you just love wonderful picture books, do not hesitate in buying this book! It's very thick and has good quality pages, Amazon's discount is a total steal. You won't regret it, I promise you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had a hard time rating this. The description says it's appropriate for 4-8 year olds, and I bought it on the recommendation of someone with a 3 and 5 year old. However, my almost 7 year old (who reads well above her grade level) just had me remove the book from her room because it was so scary she didn't want it on her book shelf (specifically the Night Princess, who it says, if you see her in the corner of a room to run the other way). I love the illustrations, and think it is very cleverly written, I just wish I had read more reviews before giving it to my sensitive daughter. It is definitely for older or non-sensitive kids. My daughter at this point would give it 1 star.
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Format: Hardcover
If Shel Silverstein had decided to write a guide on princesses it would look something like The Secret Lives of Princesses. Funny, kooky, charming, creative and witty this book will provide hours of absorbing fun. You definitely won't be bored by average run-of-the-mill princesses in these pages. Some of the most hilarious and eccentric divas will enchant and inspire you to create or become one of your very own. This was a pleasure to read; so refreshingly unique and entertaining!
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Format: Hardcover
To show how addictive this wonderful book is, our family would like to ask a question - where is the missing letter P in the puzzle
of page 45 of the hardcover? We've been looking for weeks - no food, no work, no sleep, just looking for that little letter P, onward
and, hopefully not, forever. If you've seen it, please leave word here.

If you haven't seen it, feel free to just write a P in a copy of the book and consider mailing it to us. Then we'll have
an answer and we can all sleep.
Comment 11 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my daughter's 14th birthday and was a little afraid this book was going to a bit young for a teenager. I was wrong!! The illustrations are so beautiful and magical, my princess, who is growing up too fast, was still captivated by them. We have read, and laughed, and looked at this book for many hours. A special gift for mom and sisters and all princesses everywhere!!!
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By Flash on September 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first learned about this book by reading a review published by the Wall Street Journal. I was skeptical because the review gushed with enthusiasm. The review didn't go far enough. The images, print quality, binding, even the cover jacket are all supreme quality. The imagination that creates literature such as this makes you well up inside realizing that there are people who can create such beauty. This is a book that your child will grow into. If they are a beginnning reader, it is too advanced for them to tackle on their own but a great excuse for you to sit with them and enjoy an hour that doesn't involve TV. A third grader will begin to independently explore this book and by sixth grade, they will be going through it again and again. As an adult, I read this book with my children and we notice something new almost every time, from a nuance in the text to some detail in the pictures that had somehow escaped our prior glance. My problem now is that the copy I was sent is a First Edition and I'm torn between wanting to save it and wanting to enjoy it. If you want first rate material for your child's (or even your own) bookshelf, buy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
What a unique and original book! For those of you who aren't traditional "princess story" fans, this is the book for you! Here we are introduced to different princesses each with their own vignette, and none of them are of the boring cookie-cutter variety. I would guess the age appropriateness of this to be for kids 8+.....but trust me, my husband and I have thumbed through it several times and it's adult-worthy, too.
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