To celebrate Prince George’s 2nd Birthday today and the christening of Princess Charlotte a couple of weeks ago, on July 5, we thought it might be fun to share some books that Prince William and Princess Catherine might consider for their son and daughter’s libraries. We’ve pulled together a few that that honour the idea of what it means to be a prince and princess; in all its forms, both traditional and contemporary – with a few ‘George’ and ‘Charlotte’ books thrown in for good measure.
So here are our top 10 books for Princess Charlotte and 10 books for Prince Georgie too (all equally enjoyable for the little princesses or princes in your life):
10. The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen
The story tells of a prince who wants to marry a princess, but is having difficulty finding a suitable wife. Something is always wrong with those he meets, and he cannot be certain they are real princesses. One stormy night a young woman drenched with rain seeks shelter in the prince’s castle. She claims to be a princess, so the prince’s mother decides to test their unexpected and unwitting guest by placing a pea in the bed she is offered for the night, covered by 20 mattresses and 20 feather-beds. In the morning, the guest tells her hosts that she endured a sleepless night, kept awake by something hard in the bed; which she is certain has bruised her. The prince rejoices. Only a real princess would have the sensitivity to feel a pea through such a quantity of bedding. The two are married, and the pea is placed in the Royal Museum.
9. The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
Princess Pinecone knows exactly what she wants for her birthday this year: a horse! A big horse, a strong horse, a horse fit for a warrior princess! But when the day arrives, she doesn’t quite get the horse of her dreams . . . For anyone who’s ever been saddled with a truly terrible present, The Princess and the Pony is a laugh-out-loud story of overcoming first impressions and falling in love with one unforgettable roly-poly pony. * This wonderful new book was just released in July.
8. Do Princesses Scrape Their Knees? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle, and illustrated by Mike Gordon
This yoga-practicing, soccer-playing, ice-skating big sister shows her little brother it’s ok to fall and scrape your knees. You just get back up again. This book is part of a series of “princess” books.
7. The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett, illustrated by Poly Bernatene
Can a pig really become a princess? There’s been a dreadful mix-up in the royal nursery! Priscilla the princess has switched places with a farmer’s piglet and everyone suspects fairies. It’s the sort of thing that happens all the while in books. But this is a fairy tale without fairies and this is no ordinary book …
When young Sara is sent to a boarding school by her well-meaning father, the imaginative girl makes the best of things by entertaining her friends with fanciful tales. After running afoul of the strict headmistress, Sara receives some heartbreaking news, and is forced to work in servitude. As she struggles to keep her spirits up, she makes some remarkable discoveries that may change her seemingly bleak fate.
5. Brave Charlotte by Anu Stohner, illustrated by Henrike Wilson
Charlotte is different from all the other sheep. She likes to explore the world around her, climbing up trees and wandering near the dangerous road while the wary old sheep “tsk, tsk.” But when danger strikes, only Charlotte is brave enough to go for help and save the day. This beautifully illustrated tale speaks to all shy little sheep who stand out from the crowd and aren’t afraid to follow their dreams.
Princess Pigsty is all about a princess who is sick of being sheltered. Princess Isabella hates being waited on, hates sitting around and doing nothing, so she tosses out her crown and declares that she wants to get “dirty”. Her father, the king, punishes her by forcing her to work in the kitchen and the pigsty, but it backfires when Isabella realizes that she LOVES camping out in the pigsty, loves doing things for herself, loves the satisfaction of working, and loves being self-reliant.
* Bonus – click on Cornelia Funke’s name above to visit her amazing website – it’s a ton of fun!
3. The Secret Lives of Princesses by Philippe Lechermeier and Rébecca Dautremer
Everyone knows about Cinderella, Snow White, and other fairy tale favorites. But there are many princesses who have been so well hidden, most of us never heard of them. All of that is about to change. The Secret Lives of Princesses is a treasure trove of incredible behind-the-scenes stories that reveal the secret lives of the world’s most mysterious princesses. Not your typical princess story, this gorgeous collection offers a fun, sophisticated and witty alternative to ordinary tales and delights the eye with its lush, exotic art and a bold, vivid design.
2. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
The Paper Bag Princess is the story of a young girl whose castle and clothes are burned by fiery dragon breath. The dragon absconds with her fiance. Undaunted (and donning only a paper bag), princess Elizabeth sets off to rescue her prince. After a successful mission, the ungrateful wretch tells her to come back when she dresses and smells like a proper princess. Seeing how shallow his affection is, the two do not live happily ever after!
* Bonus – enjoy the StoryMob we hosted for this beloved tale here.
1. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
In his classic and beloved novel, E. B. White tells the memorable story of Wilbur, a little pig who becomes famous with the help of his clever friend Charlotte and their chatty animal neighbors. As the runt of the litter, Wilbur struggles to survive from the very beginning. Fern begs her father, Mr. Arable, to raise Wilbur and nurse him to health. Fern succeeds and Wilbur moves to Zuckerman Farm, where he learns the true meaning of friendship from the wise gray spider Charlotte.
10. The Little Lame Prince by Miss Mulock (Dinah Maria Mulock Craik)
The young Prince Dolor, whose legs are paralysed due to a childhood trauma, is exiled to a tower in a wasteland. As he grows older, a fairy godmother provides a magical travelling cloak so he can see, but not touch, the world. He uses this cloak to go on various adventures, and develops great wisdom and empathy in the process. Finally he becomes a wise and compassionate ruler of his own land.
Only three inches tall, he can ski down mountains of dishes, swim with goldfish, and take rides in his new toy airplane. But taking care of his giant baby brother and brushing his teeth can be real challenges for the mouse-sized George.
8. Curious George by H. A. Rey and Margaret Rey
In this, the original book about the curious monkey, George is taken from the jungle by the man in the yellow hat to live in a new home, but–oh, what happened! Though trying to be good, George is still very curious and takes a swim in the ocean, escapes from jail, and goes for a flying ride on a bunch of balloons. This treasured classic is where it all began for the curious, loveable monkey.
* Bonus – enjoy photos from our StoryMob of Curious George last summer here.
7. Prince Cinders by Babette Cole
A fun take on the classic Cinderella story, poor Prince Cinders wants to go out to the disco but is forced instead to stay at home and clean up after his three big hairy brothers who mock him for being weak and skinny. One evening a fairy appears to the young prince and tries to magically make his dreams come true but it doesn’t go entirely to plan.
6. The Frog Prince by the Brothers Grimm
A king’s daughter is playing with a golden ball near a fountain in the forest. The ball drops in the water and she starts crying. Suddenly a frog comes out of the fountain and asks her why she is crying. She tells him about the ball and frog promises to find a golden ball for her. But he wants something in exchange. The princess is willing to promise him everything: her jewels, her clothes, even her crown, but frog wants something different: frog wants to become her companion and friend,
5. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
A lovable pup tries to bark, but all that comes out are other animals’ sounds, until a cathartic trip to the vet unleashes the problem. This book is a pack of fun, with droll illustrations and deadpan text.
4. The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde
The prince in the story is no living prince. He is the statue of a dead prince decorated with gold leaves and precious stones. He is known as the Happy Prince because there is a smile on his lips. But the smile gradually gives way to tears. The Happy Prince cannot help crying over the scenes of misery in the houses of the poor. He decides to help them with his gold leaves and costly stones. The little swallow acts as his messenger, and he gives away all his wealth.
*Bonus – enjoy an exquisite reading of The Happy Prince by Stephen Fry here.
3. Oh No, George by Chris Haughton
It’s hard work being good all the time. And it’s especially hard for a dog like George! Harris is off to do some shopping. “Will you be good, George?” he asks. George hopes he can. He really wants to … but chocolate cake is just so very delicious and he does love to chase cat… What will George do now?
2. George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl
George’s nasty old grandma needs teaching a lesson, and he decides the best remedy is a special home-made medicine…
1. The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
What appears to be a simple tale of two lost souls-one, a pilot marooned in the desert next to his ditched plane; the other, a minuscule prince in self-imposed exile from an asteroid so small that he can watch the sunset 44 times a day-reveals itself as something far more complex. The Little Prince is a book for children written for grown-ups. It can be read on many different levels to provide pleasure and lessons for readers of all ages.
*Bonus – enjoy the trailer for the new film adaption of Le Petit Prince (opening next week) here.
And finally, we thought we would share the delightful books by Martha Mumford, celebrating the little Royals and their family…