, author of the bestselling Thief Lord
, tells a short, sweet story about a brave little princess with a mind of her own.
King Wilfred's three sons learn to become big, bad knights the way any boisterous boys would: "They learned riding and jousting, fighting with swords...They learned how to stride proudly and how to shout very loudly." At her father's urging, young Princess Violetta tries to keep up with the same lessons, "even though she was so small she could hardly lift a sword at all!" Despite her brothers' teasing and laughing, Violetta continues to practice--even secretly at night. Soon enough, Violetta becomes "so nimble and quick" that when practicing with her brothers, "their spears and swords just hit the empty air." But then King Wilfred does the unthinkable: For his Violetta's sixteenth birthday, he plans a jousting tournament designed to bring "the bravest knights in the land flocking to the castle" to win
her hand in marriage! Violetta is outraged: "You want me to marry some dimwit in a tin suit?" Fortunately, of course, the princess finds a way to come to her own rescue.
Funke does well in this picturebook format, but Kerstin Meyer's delicate and extremely cute illustrations set the quiet, measured (but still fun) tone of the Princess Knight, as she takes inspiration from a bona fide medieval piece of art--the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2--King Wilfred teaches his daughter the same knightly skills he has taught his three sons. Mocked by her brothers for being smaller and weaker, Violetta grows more determined to succeed. She creeps out at night to practice her sword fighting and horseback riding. With perseverance, the "nimble and quick" Princess becomes an expert jouster. In honor of her 16th birthday, the king announces a tournament with the victory prize being her hand in marriage. Outraged and appalled, Violetta cries: "You want me
to marry some dimwit in a tin suit? Just look at your own knights! They whip their horses and they can't even write their own names!" Taking matters into her own hands, she disguises herself in armor and poses as "Sir No-Name." After defeating the other contenders, she reveals her true identity and chooses her prize--independence. Meyer's ink-and-watercolor illustrations run across the pages in panels and were inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry. Children will pore over the medieval details. Pair this spirited tale with Robert Munsch's The Paper Bag Princess
(Turtleback, 1980) for a discussion of gender stereotypes.--Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
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