Author: Margaret Gray, Randy Cecil (Illustartor)
176 Pages–5-10 years
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on 01 October 2002
“A very long time ago, when all the countries you’ve ever heard of were in different places on the map, a princess was born who was not beautiful. She wasn’t even remotely pretty, and the whole kingdom was in deep shock about it.”
Princess Rose doesn’t get any prettier as she grows up, but the kingdom does get over its shock. Everyone adores the skinny, buck-toothed princess, and she doesn’t mind her appearance—until the handsomest prince in the world comes looking for a bride. Despite warnings from her seafaring fairy godmother and a wise fool named Jasper, reckless Rose wishes for beauty. She gets her wish, and the prince, but finds neither is as nice as she had expected.
This book hit my radar when I saw it on another blog that review books (http://smallreview.blogspot.com/2010/11/ugly-princess-and-wise-fool-by-margaret.html). It was one of the first book blogs I had seen and judging by the other books the author tended to review, I sort of thought this would be a meatier read.
Regardless, two years after I first learned about the existence of this book, I was perusing my local used bookshop and I saw this on the shelf. It was only two dollars and I was like “what the heck?” So I bought it. It was much shorter than I thought it would be, the font is pretty large, and there are illustrations. The point is, I figured out this book was not going to take me as long as I thought to finish.
Although short, this was an adorable story. The princess, Rose, and the wise fool, Jasper, were the most adorable things ever. Jasper really was the wisest man in the story because he could see the beauty in Rose when everyone else was too blinded by the definition of beauty.
The fairy godmother was fantastic. She was probably the most untraditional fairy godmother I’ve ever read about (actually, second most untraditional).
Throughout the story the author regularly makes fun of the aspects that are present in almost all traditional fairy tales. Not in a mean way, more like in a “this is so outdated” way. For example, when Rose becomes beautiful her two sisters start getting nastier and nastier. They even start getting a greenish hue to their skin and a wart on their noses (because all jealous people become witches).
The author manages to worm a moral in the story without beating us over the head with it. Thank goodness! I’m tired of reading things where the same statement is repeated over and over and OVER again. I get it friendship is important. Love conquers all. Yada yada yada. I mean, I like it when things are spelled out for me, but I hate it when they repeat the same thing constantly.
It’s a cute story with a happy ending. And I just love happy endings!
It’s a simple story with a simple moral, but enjoyable nonetheless. Obviously a read for the young, but still enjoyable for the adult. Honestly, the best use for this book would probably for an adult and a little one to read it together.