Power to the Princess: Book Review

Power to the girls by changing the way traditional tales are solved. Forget about Prince Charming; these girls take the power to make their own destiny.

Title: Power to the Princess: 15 Favourite Fairytales Retold with Girl Power
Author: Vita Weinstein Murrow
Illustrator: Julia Bereciartu 
ISBN: 9781786032034          Language: English

Classification: Fiction
Type: Middle-grade chapter books / short stories
Themes: empowerment, diversity, girls

What's it about?
This is a collection of short stories that have been written to have female leads solve their own problems. All of the stories are based on old traditional fairy tales - such as Cinderella, Briar Rose, Little Mermaid, etc.

The stories are brief - just a couple of pages so they are ideal for bedtime stories. The pages have lovely illustrations that complement the stories and are unintrusive.

Too much going on to achieve too many things in one book. Too text-heavy on the pages presentation-wise.

My Thoughts
This book is a new release scheduled for the 3rd of September 2018.

I wanted to like this book...but I don't and I'll explain why. A growing issue I am having with books aimed at children is political correctness overload. I am a member of a few author groups on various platforms and when some authors say how they've written about (insert current issue that is in the news - eg. bullying, gender identity) to help others understand. The problem is that most of these books (yes, I've read a large number but don't have time to write reviews on all - I try though!) is that they come across as preachy and in-your-face. I read for enjoyment - making a connection with the story, the characters. The story should be natural...flowing...

This collection of stories is basically modern-type retellings of traditional tales that end with more power to the girl - so no happily-ever-after married to the prince. On the surface this sounds like a great idea but having read a lot of the original (and quite dark Grimm versions) there were a few things that made me go 'huh' or 'really?'.

For example, the character in the version of the Frog Prince is Evangeline - not a name I have seen in any original version but a name that I immediately associated with the Disney film The Princess and the Frog (the star was called Evangeline if you didn't know). Now that alone could be a coincidence but then in the Sleeping Beauty story, the character is Aurora - which was also what Disney used as a name - I believe she was Briar Rose in the original. Basically, these anomalies made me consider how original these new stories were or if they have been influenced by more modern traditional retellings (I mean, you don't get any more traditional than a Disney movie if you want a happy ending).

Another major issue was the very text-heavy pages - not a lot of white space going on - and even as an adult, I found it too much. I was (and still am) quite a fan of the old Story Teller (also known as Story Time) series that was produced back in the late 1980s by Marshall-Cavendish. They did retellings of the stories that were a few pages long and included illustrations. This book reminded me a little of that...this book though needed way more white space.

And then there was too much political correctness. Each story featured people from different ethnicities, gender identities...it was too much in one book. It feels forced and for some stories, it just didn't work. With this in mind, I'll give fair warning to those from conservative religions or beliefs that this book does contain a lesbian who marries and a transgender character (admittedly I had to reread that one because I wondered why a boy was in the story).

Additionally, I had issues with who this book is written for. Some of the language is more advanced than I would expect for those beginning to read chapter books. On the other hand, I can't see a middle-school (years 4-8) reading it either as the stories are just "too young" for them.

Perhaps I'm overly sentimental and actually liked having happily-ever-after books - I mean, a story doesn't need to end in marriage to save the damsel but I wonder if perhaps these endings also give the same false hope to the next generation because not everyone will become a lead dancer, a famous artist...Try - sure but the success of one is usually at the failure of many more - something to consider.

Overall, I get that this book is trying to be diverse and empower girls - but it's just trying to do too much in one book and it wasn't for me.

Special thanks to Quarto Publishing - Frances Lincoln Children's Books and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of the book.


  1. I am totally with you! It's nice that fairytales have been re-hashed in such a way, but take out the preaching. It's nice to give girls the boost they need to conquer all... but we all know fairytales aren't true! I don't think Liv would read this, she put down short stories a while ago now, much preferring longer, tween style books. I need to take some time out and open a good book myself :) Sim x

  2. I think if they'd concentrated on maybe 2 or so in a book but made them longer and the stories were more involved like a chapter book I could totally see them working much better because it's not everything at once. Not one I see my daughter having either but she's on the other side of the age! LOL.