Friday, October 2, 2015

The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye

Before all the fractured fairy tale movies and other retellings, there was The Ordinary Princess. This is from the 1980s and has been reprinted several times, with progressively worse covers, but I am lucky enough to have the original cover.

This is an original fairytale in the style of Eleanor Farjeon and Milne, who wrote what are usually called "fairy stories" that might or might not have contained actual fairies. Princess Amethyst Alexandra Aurelia Anne was the seventh daughter of a fairy tale king and queen but received an unusual gift at her christening; "You shall be ordinary!" says the Fairy Crustacea. And ordinary Amy is. She has a snub nose, cries, and is no more a golden-haired, romantic princess than the maids of the castle. So it's easy for her to switch places with one Clorinda and retreat to the forest where she enjoys a happy life. But one day she meets a boy named Perry...

I think, if reprinted with the original or a good cover, this fairy tale would find an audience. It has just a little romance, a lot of humor, and pokes gentle fun at fairy tale tropes without being crude or raucous. It's still a fairy story with magical creatures, floating dresses, and royalty. It's also a sweet fantasy with animals, a truly delicious and unique fairy godmother, and an ordinary heroine who is anything but ordinary.

Verdict: I can't recommend you purchase this now, the only in print cover is awful, however, it's worth looking for a used copy to enjoy for yourself.

ISBN: 0153046120; Published 1984 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; From my personal library


Juju said...

Good day, Jennifer.

May I ask a few things about this particular book (The Ordinary Princess - M.M. Kaye. Published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc, 1984.
ISBN 10: 0153046120 / ISBN 13: 9780153046124)?

1. Does the book have M. M. Kaye's illustrations like it said on the cover?
2. If yes for the previous question, then, are there any full page colour illustrations or are they all just black and white ones?

I'm looking for the OP book version that have all of M.M.K's illustrations in it.

Thank you for your time and looking forward to your reply.

Jennifer said...

Hey Justine - this is my personal copy, it's a paperback "HBJ Library" and matches that first ISBN (not sure about the 13 digit one, since it's so old). It's some kind of textbook - it has that info on the first page "this book belongs to x school and has been issued to x pupil etc." It does have black and white illustrations and three colored plates - Amy screaming as a baby, the princess Persephone, and Peregrine by the brook.

Juju said...

Hello Jennifer.
Thank you so very much for replying so promptly.

I was reconsidering revisiting my childhood by collecting books I yused to read as a child.

I used to read a library copy of this book, except it's a hardcover Double Day version.
Nowadays the Double a Day version is soooo expensive and hard to find.

With the description you have given about this version, reassures me that it's like an paperback alternative of the Double Day version.
So, thank you so very much once again for your help and time to my questions.

Cheers and good health.