The story, like most fairy tales, begins with a wonderful castle in a majestic kingdom. There a princess is born to the king and queen. On the day of her birth they give her a very special gift from God -- "her first kiss." The king and queen take care of her kiss while she is growing and, when she is old enough, they give it to her and explain how special it is. "This kiss is yours to keep ... or to give away, as you see fit." Her father warns her to use wisdom and save her kiss for the man she will marry.
Eventually suitors come calling. One is prideful and full of himself. Another is rich and another romantic. The princess finds reasons to dismiss them all. None are good enough for her kiss. Finally a poor farmer approaches her. He has nothing to give her but his very first kiss, which he has saved just for her. They are married and live happily ever after.
The book concludes by quoting 1 Timothy 1:5 -- "Love ... comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." (NIV)
Preston McDaniels does a fantastic job as illustrator. The pages are filled with pastel colors, regal details and enchanting characters. Perfectly fitting for the tone of the story.
What I Like: The concept. It is important to teach children the value of purity. The author has tackled a difficult subject for a young audience. I love the illustrations! I wish they were more colorful, but they are so classic and beautiful.
What I Dislike: I found this book very odd. The intended audience is far too young for such a detailed metaphor. It's confusing. Does this mean we shouldn't kiss anyone? What if we find a good man who has already given away his "kiss"? Do only poor people know the value of their "kisses"? The story, I felt, was too simplistic in its conclusions. I have friends who love this book and read it often to their preschoolers. I love the idea of teaching the lesson early, but feel this book is more appropriate for older girls: tweens and above. I still haven't read it to our daughter(three years old).
Overall Rating: Hmmmm ... For the suggested age range: Poor. For teenagers: Good.
Age Appeal: 4-8 (according to the publisher), but I recommend 10 and above.
Publisher Info: Warner Press, 2000; ISBN: 0871628686; Hardback; $12.99
Buy it Now at Amazon for $8.61
Additional Info: The author (along with Susan Henson) has written a companion book entitled Life Lessons from The Princess and the Kiss. It is not a picture book, but a type of devotional to help young girls and their parents "plant seeds of purity." You can also find similar books for boys: The Squire and the Scroll and Life Lessons from The Squire and the Scroll.