Review: The Barefoot Book of Princesses

I don’t generally review children’s books, but when Melanie from Barefoot Books asked me to take a look at a couple of their titles, I checked out their website.  Filled with award winning books with stories from other cultures and eye-catching art, how could I resist?  

Melanie sent me The Barefoot Book of Princesses retold by Caitlin Matthews, which includes a storytime cd, along with Magic Hoofbeats (with 2 cds), and One, Two, Skip a Few.  I’m only going to talk about the Princess book here, but all the books would make a great gift for a young friend (and if you purchase one through Melanie you can get 10% off!)

My kids are a little too old for these books, especially the counting book, but none of us are too old to appreciate a good story.  I popped the Princesses cd in without a word to the kids, who were bouncing off the walls at the time, and suddenly a hush fell over the room.  “What is this?” my 9 year old demanded.  “Princess stories from all over the world,” I told her.  “Why are you playing it, Mom?  We’re too old for Princesses!,” she said, giving me that I’m-not-a-baby look. “That’s ok, I’m not playing it for you, I’m playing it for me. I’m going to tell people about it on my blog,” I told her. “Oh, ok,” she said.  “What is that book?”  “It goes along with the cd.  Do you want to see it?,” I asked.  “I guess,” she said, trying to pretend she didn’t care.

Well, guess what happened when I tried to turn it off 20 minutes later, in the middle of the 3rd story?  “WAIT!!  Don’t turn it off!  It’s not over!,” cried my preteen girls who are too old for princesses.  “We have to find out if the princess gets her hair back!”  Hmmm.  

This is a really special book.  There are 7 different stories, ranging from The Princess who Lost her Hair, an African folk tale, The Birdcage Husband from Central Asia, and The Horned Snake’s Wife, an Iroquois story.  There are also the classic Princess tales, The Princess and the Pea from Denmark, and the Grimm Brothers’ The Sleeping Beauty.  The gifted illustrator, Olwyn Whelan, did a fabulous job vividly portraying the stories with vibrant colors and beautiful detail.  Margaret Wolfson reads the stories on the cd in a soothing and emotive voice that could lull a little one to sleep if the stories weren’t so full of adventure.

My big girls listened to the entire cd and admitted that they thought it was great.  But don’t tell their friends, because that would be sooooo embarrassing.

Oh, and the Princess gets her hair back.