Review of ‘Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror’ by Natasha Farrant, illustrated by Lydia Corry

Fairytale retellings are very on trend right now, but this book is something better. It’s a collection of new fairytales, each focused on princesses. Princesses who are brave, strong, independent-minded, adventurous and certainly don’t need rescuing. In fact, they do the rescuing. It reworks the idea of what a ‘princess’ is. It’s a wonderful book of stories with a clear message that girls should follow their ambitions and not let anyone tell them that because they’re female they ‘can’t’ do something. It would make an ideal gift for readers between the ages of 8 – 12 but I think it could be enjoyed by older readers too.

The stories are linked by a magic mirror which is owned by an enchantress, so they are really stories within a story. I liked how this was done. I also liked the variety of settings, none of which are named as real places but they are vaguely Irish, African, Russian, Latin American, ensuring a diversity of cultures and characters. They all appear to be set in the past, except for one which is set in the modern day. The illustrations are gorgeous and appear on every page. Colourful, lively and charming, the images are really the highlight of the book. They really complement and enhance the stories.

With well-crafted thoughtful stories and brilliant illustrations, this is a book to treasure.

Thank you to Zephyr Books (an imprint of Head of Zeus) for the finished hardback copy. The book was published on 5th September.

 

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