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The Secret Lives of Princesses Hardcover – June 1, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 54 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: 10.9 x 0.6 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.
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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really wanted to like this book. I had very high hopes. Perhaps too high.
The book is beautiful.

I'm not sure what audience the author was going for? Perhaps trying to make a book that would appeal to middle school kids? Adults? Both?

The puns and references require much more life experience and literary sophistication than elementary aged children have. Perhaps some elementary aged children find the book funny anyway? My kids, ages 6.5 & 5 just didn't "get" most of it and I was growing tired of explaining every line. I'm not sure what age you would need to be to understand the majority of references, perhaps high school?
Also there isn't a cohesive flow between the pages, each page is about a unique princess. I can't see many people reading the book cover-to-cover in one sitting. Perhaps I just didn't find it that engaging, personally. Maybe other reviewers did read it cover to cover? And even again???

I also didn't find it a terribly progressive view of princesses. The princesses in this version aren't off battling to save their kingdom or using their wit and cunning to their advantage. They do very little ruling or, and as far as I can tell, haven't made any decisions that impacted their kingdom either positively or negatively.
Personally, I didn't find a single one to be a role model for me (or someone I want my kids to role model) and in a fantasy world of over 30 princesses, I was disappointed by that. But again, perhaps that wasn't the author's intention either.
They all have interesting and unusual traits, but often what is noteworthy with the princesses is their looks, their looks again, their attire, their size, that they are lazy and want to sleep all day, and other ways they are acting "princessy.
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