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The Ordinary Princess Paperback – March 18, 2002

189 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A godmother's final "gift" transforms what should be the luckiest princess and most comely of all (born seventh, a good omen) into an ordinary-looking girl. But that does not stop Princess Amy from living an extraordinary life: she runs away from home when she is promised to a royal stranger. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

M. M. Kaye (1908-2004) was born and grew up in Simla, India. Her grandfather, father, brother and husband all served the Raj. M. M. Kaye won worldwide fame for The Far Pavilions, which became a best-seller on publication in 1978. She also wrote a series of detective novels, including Death in Kashmir and Death in Zanzibar, and an autobiography, published in three volumes, collectively entitled Share of Summer: The Sun in the Morning, Golden Afternoon, and Enchanted Evening. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1090L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (March 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142300853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142300855
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Laura Bellamy on March 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
This was one of my very favorite books as a child, and I was crushed when it went out of print and I lost my own copy. When I learned a few years ago that it was being re-printed, I was overjoyed.
"The Ordinary Princess" is a delightful fairy tale with a bit of a twist -- the herione is NOT the mind-bogglingly gorgeous fairy tale princess we have come to expect. At birth, she is cursed by an ornery fairy..."You shall be ORDINARY!" Much to the embarrassment of the royal family, the curse immediately begins to manifest itself, and continues to do so throughout the course of the princess's life. She is overlooked in favor of her six extremely beautiful and perfectly-princessy older sisters. No matter what the royal court tries, Princess Amy remains as normal as any peasant.
"The Ordinary Princess" follows the quest of Princess Amy to make something of an ordinary life for herself, to go along with her very ordinary appearance. During which time, she meets -- and falls in love with -- a young "man-of-all-work" named Peregrine.
I shall not reveal to you how splendidly it ends, but it is absolutely charming. There are very few perfect books in this world, but this just happens to be one of them. It is clever and witty in its writing, charming in its story (as all fairy tales SHOULD be) and simple and sweet in its execution. It is every little girl's dream to be a princess, and this is an excellent princess story. Delightful from start to finish.
I admit to not being overly fond of the reprint's cover -- I preferred the original cover art -- but at least all of the orginial illustrations are included in this. M.M. Kaye not only wrote this book, she also illustrated it herself, and the drawings only augment the tale, making it even better than it already is.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Tired of the usual Disneyfied blonde, sweet, graceful, elegant princesses? Read this book, in which we see a princess unlike any other. I'm glad that it will be reprinted shortly, as a fantasy story this good deserves to be read again and again.
The story opens in the kingdom of Phantasmorania (great name, no?), where the seventh royal princess is born. At first, Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne appears to be like any other beautiful, good-tempered princess. But then a crabby but well-meaning fairy puts a two-edged blessing on her: "You shall be ordinary!" And she is. To the dismay of the royals and the court, Amy is mousy-haired, snub-nosed, freckled, and thoroughly graceless. She prefers romping in the woods to drifting around playing with a golden ball, as her sisters do.
Dismayed, her parents try to rig up a crisis to get her married off. But Amy doesn't want to be treated in such a way, and has no wish to embarrass her family. So she sets off across the woods, and enters a neighboring kingdom, where she becomes a kitchen maid and has to work for the first time in her life. There she befriends a squirrel and a bird - and a mystery "man of all work" named Perry, who becomes her best friend...
M.M. Kaye, best known for her tales of India and other exotic lands, pens a delightful little fantasy story. This is not an epic, nor does it have ground-shattering impact on the world. Instead it is a smaller, more personal story about an ordinary girl who happens to be a princess. Amy's love story is charming as well, since she and Perry CHOOSE rather than are chosen. It also adds an extra dimension to their romance, since they are friends as well. Amy doesn't give in to fate, she makes her own. I know this sounds like a feminist retelling, but it isn't.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Louise on March 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
I love this book. I used to get this book out of the library every other time I went just to have it nearby even though I wouldn't have time to read it. The original printing my library has is gorgeous: an elegant cover illustrated by the author and wonderful illustrations with borders around the illustrated pages that tie into the art. Lovely.

While the story remains intact, the artwork has been slaughtered in this reprint. Inside, most of the author's artwork is there but it has been rudely hacked off from the lovely borders giving it a very choppy feel and the art isn't very gracefully placed within the text. I especially detest the cover. This is a romance story, you know boy meets girl. The cover gives her the impression of being 8 years old...not the given age in the book during which the majority of the story takes place and definitely too young to be married off and live happily ever after...rather disturbing. In the old version, the story and artwork were one, and flowed together beautifully. Now the chopped up artwork in a sense chops up the story. Sad...really pitiful. I hope if this story is ever reprinted in the future, care will be taken to restore it to how the author intended it.

The actual story...it's a wonderful, innocent romance. Sigh. Makes my girly heart go all fluttery.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amberly Page on November 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
One may know the story of the servant girl who gets to go to the ball, the story of the beautiful girl that falls in love with the beast, the princess that is finally awakened by a kiss from a dashing prince. But, it is quite possible that one may go half of her life before ever hearing the story of another girl, a princess in fact, who was born once upon a time in a land called Phantasmorania. She was christened Her Serene and Royal Highness Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne--a name fit for the most beautiful and exraordinary princess in all the land. Special gifts were bestowed upon the baby at this christening celebration by the magical fairies of the land. All seems to be heading straight for happily ever after until the last fairy bestows her idea of a gift on the princess: "You shall be ordinary!" The kingdom is turned upside down. An ordinary princess?

The king and queen may consider this gift a curse indeed, but it is what makes the story so endearing to readers. Traditional views of what makes someone noble and special are tried, especially what makes a woman beautiful and of worth. In a classically fairy-tale setting, a mythical land ruled by Oberon, king of the fairies, new-age ideas are considered and ultimately proven plausible. M.M. Kaye's story, The Ordinary Princess, is a refreshing new take on classical fairy-tale stories that enamors readers with its relatable characters all the while enchanting them with a somewhat fantastic plot and imagery. Because Princess Amy is so believable, readers are better able to walk along side-by-side with a princess and vicariously experience all her adventures instead of gazing longingly from afar.
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