An Unusual Princess – Princess Smartypants Review
Princess Smartypants is an unusual princess. She does whatever she wants when she wants, with her mother’s approval or not.
I bought Princess Smartypants and Princess Smartypants Breaks the Rules! for Ragamuffin and her cousin for Christmas. I can’t say for her cousin but they’ve gone down a treat with Ragamuffin. These books are aimed at children age 3-6, so were a little bit old for Ragamuffin and her cousin when I bought them, but I intended for them to grow with them.
The books are both full of bright and engaging pictures. Right now Ragamuffin is more interested in the pictures than the actual story, and she finds some of the Princes’ mishaps in Princess Smartypants quite funny.
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In Princess Smartypants the story is based around Princes coming to castle to try to get Smartypants to marry them.
As she puts it, they’re a nuisance. So she sets them seemingly impossible tasks, with the promise that if they manage them she will marry them. They all fail to do the tasks she sets them, all that is, until Prince Swashbuckle turns up. He finishes all the tasks set for the other Princes, much to Smartypants’ annoyance. So she gives him a magic kiss which turns him into a frog! Needless to say that he is that last Prince who turns up wanting to marry Smartypants.
In Princess Smartypants Breaks the Rules! Smartypants is sent to Madame Twinklebotham’s Academy for Fairy Princesses because her mother thinks she needs to be taught to behave properly in order to ‘get a Prince’.
From the moment she arrives at the school it’s obvious that Smartypants is an unusual Princess. She causes trouble right from the get go. She rides her dragon to the school who, on landing, scares the horses pulling the other Princesses coaches and most of them end up in the moat. Madame Twinklebotham tries to teach hair and makeup, deportment and fashion sense, and a few other traditional princess skills. Smartypants adds her unique personality to these classes and ends up in the dungeons for being deliberately disruptive. She’s freed by her next-door-ogre and greeted by the other princesses wanting her to teach them to be cool like her. The book ends with Madame Twinklebotham turned into a mouse and Smartypants teaching the other princesses to break the rules.
I really love Smartypants. She’s an unusual Princess who does as she pleases and makes no excuses for it. I think she’s a positive character for younger girls because she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. She arrives at school on the back of a dragon, when all the other Princesses travel in horse-drawn carriages. The other Princesses are calm and considered compared to Smartypants’ bull-in-a-china-shop personality. She’s always looking for the fun in everything she does, even the boring lessons at the Fairy Princess Academy.
The King and Queen
The King and Queen, Smartypants’ parents’ are terrible characters in my view. I hate the ‘mother desperate for her daughter to marry’ stereotype along with the ‘just does as his wife wants’ stereotypical character that the King is. With parents like that, it’s no wonder that Smartypants chooses to amuse herself as she does, life must be really dull with them as parents.
I feel a little bit sorry for Madame Twinklebotham, but only a bit. She’s almost a pawn in the cat-and-mouse game between Smartypants and her mother. Smartypants is dispruptive, but I don’t think she sees it that way. Smartypants is just making the best of a bad situation and Madame Twinklebotham’s annoyance is an unfortunate side-effect of that.
There is one more Princess Smartypants picture book aimed at 3-5 year olds, called Long Live Princess Smartypants. In this book she has to save a baby kidnapped by her enemy Prince Rottenghut.
I found a couple of other Princess Smartypants books aimed at older readers. There is Princess Smartypants and the Missing Princes and Princess Smartypants and the Fairy Geek Mothers. These books are aimed at readers aged 6-8.
Both have large print text and are illustrated with black and white pictures throughout, great if your budding readers still need a few pictures to keep them engaged.
About the Author – Babette Cole
Babette Cole was an author originally from Jersey who died in 2017, aged 67. She loved to travel and was a great animal lover. Babette Cole both wrote and illustrated the Princess Smartypants books. She wrote lots of books for children on taboo topics like puberty and sex in Hair in Funny Places and Mummy Laid an Egg.
I’m sure that the two books about the unusual Princess Smartypants won’t be the last written by Babette Cole that find a home at Raising a Ragamuffin HQ.
What do you think about the unusual Princess Smartypants? Is she someone you think your ragamuffins would like? Leave me a comment and let me know.
Do you struggle to find books with positive female characters for your girls? The Princess Smartypants books appear on my FREE list of The Best 51 Books for Girls. You can download it here.
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