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The Princess Knight Hardcover – March 1, 2004
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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 meto 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
But reviewer "Pam Tee" hit the nail on the head. This is a great life lesson book for older kids.
The story is a great way to introduce kids to the idea that sometimes life really rots, but you don't whine or wallow in self-pity, you make the best of it. It's a man's world (still!) but that doesn't automatically make girls victims; you just learn to play the game better than the boys. This story shows what can happen when a very precocious and clever girl does just that. Yes, some themes younger kids won't get, but still an excellent lesson.
Regarding the queen: Life isn't fair. Sometimes people die. In the real world, you don't get to choose when your kids will experience that for the first time. (Put your modern squeamishness aside for a moment and remember that up until less than a century ago, childbirth was THE #1 killer of adult women. Orphanages are not a recent invention.) If you're that freaked out by the queen dying, wait until your kids are older.
Having said that, my six-year-old girls took to it just fine.
So, four stars only because it's not really for younger kids, the themes are too hard to explain.
Reading some of the other reviews, we never focused on the part where the mother died. Like so man things kids are not deal with yet, DD so far ignored that part as far as I can tell, and I did not push it, knowing she would ask questions when she is ready.
Definitely recommend this book, if you are ready for a good laugh yourself when you read bedtime stories.
This teaches 2 things:
1. That girls can do anything boys can do; even traditionally male things.
2. That you don't have to follow the expected path.
I bought this for my daughter who is too young to appreciate it, but my 4 year old son loves it too.