The Princess and the Three Knights by Karen Kingsbury
Illustrated By: Gabrielle Grimard
Geared Towards: Ages 4-7
Published By: Zonderkidz
Publication Date: September 2009
As the mother of two little girls, and as a little girl once myself, I am no stranger to fairy tales. In most there's always a beautiful princess who wants to be loved and rescued by a handsome prince. He can be brave. He can be noble. Rarely, however, do the stories show us any real character on either party's behalf. Usually the prince just has to be good looking and come with a title and that automatically makes him a suitable candidate to take the hand of the princess. Or, if he's not an automatic shoe in then there's usually a duel or some other physical challenge which takes place to help narrow down the selection to a single suitor.
That is all fine and dandy, and truthfully I have enjoyed these fairy tales as much as most. Yet, I've often wondered, and have seen discussed many times online, why do fairy tales seem to never show the princess being claimed by a prince, or even just a regular guy, who sees more than just her money and beauty? They're make believe stories so no one expects them to be fully realistic, and still when little girls read these enchanting tales they get continually hit with the idea that looks and money are everything. That's a pretty deceptive message if you ask me.
What if an author was to take the bold step and write a fairy tale that still incorporates all the beauty and wonder of it's earlier counterparts but also added more substance to the characters? What if someone wrote a fable about a princess who was desired for more than just her delicate looks and heavy coin purse?
Apparently Karen Kingsbury, author of The Princess and the Three Knights, was of the same opinion because this new picture book, out in September 2009 from Zonderkidz, brings together the wonder of a princess's courtship with the idea that there's more to her than her fairness and wealth.
When the king's lovely daughter matures to the age of marriage he finds that she has many prospective suitors. But as is always the case, there are more than not who see the princess as a prize to be had not for the sake of the pleasure their unity would spark but for the benefits it would allow. The king knows his precious daughter is beauteous but unlike many he recognizes her beauty is more than skin deep. Wanting nothing less than perfect for his little girl, the king sets out to find the one knight who is most likely to love the princess for who she is and not for what she looks like or what family she comes from.
It's a refreshing point of view to see coming from fairy tale styling. It's brilliant how Kingsbury has managed to string together a romantic fable written to this particular age bracket that not only shows the importance of including God in all your relationships but also shows little girls that true love, not beauty or status, thought both of these can be wonderful to have, should be the given priority. She's taken everything that little girls find appealing in traditional romantic fairy tales, and she's blended them with these more realistic and Godly ideas to create a really good, really well rounded story!
Never mind the simply gorgeous illustrations by Gabrielle Grimmard. The cover alone will mesmerize you and call you to pick up the book. I swear, this is a book that will appeal to any little girl who dreams of one day being swept off her feet by her knight in shining armor.
OUR RATING: 5 hearts