How to be the Perfect Princess, by Caitlin Matthews

Dear Reader,
When you pick up a book on princesses, you like to be reassured that the person who has written it is the genuine article – a real princess. I was born a princess of a very small kingdom, but before I married, I had to live by guarding geese. Because of my adventures, I feel uniquely qualified to write this book.
Since I married Prince Pallas, I’ve learned a lot more about being a princess and I thought it was time to pass on my knowledge to a new generation of girl.s I’ve also consulted widely with the world’s most exclusive club, the Guild of Princesses, to bring you everything you need to know. Some girls are born princesses and some overcome many obstacles to become one – everyone has to start somewhere. Play your cards right and who knows what will happen!

Princess Petal may have born a princess but her early years were anything but princess-like. But her fortunes changed and in How to be the Perfect Princess she shares many princessly secrets. There are hints on how to prepare for a ball and how to dress for farm-show prize-givings. There are stories about other princesses of Princess Petal’s acquaintance. Princess Petal talks directly to the reader, gently suggesting that princesses don’t eat peas with their knives and ensuring that new princesses are aware of their rights and obligations. Potential princesses can learn tips for seeing whether a suitor-prince is clever enough to marry. There’s even an application to join the prestigious ‘Guild of Princesses’. Each spread is full-coloured and shows a variety of princesses and their accoutrements and environments.

How to be the Perfect Princess is set out like a non-fiction book, with a narrative stream and text boxes with a number of different text types. Not that potential, or emerging princesses will notice this. They’ll be too busy descending the stairs elegantly or memorising the list of gifts to avoid (apples, water horses and the like). As they learn about all that is involved in being a true princess, they can read stories of other princesses from many other lands. How to be the Perfect Princess will delight many little princesses and set off many flights of fancy, including princess parties. It also includes general life hints like encouraging plenty of sleep and respect for others. Recommended for princesses everywhere.

How to be the Perfect Princess

How to be the Perfect Princess, Caitlin Matthews ill Bee Willey
Allen & Unwin 2009
ISBN 9781742371122

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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