If you have a daughter whose swept up in the princess craze, A Little Princess in the Making by Emilie Barnes may be just the book to help teach her good manners.
The book begins by introducing a young girl who calls herself a princess. "Would you like to start your princess training with me?" she asks. Then, every four pages features one attribute: caring for the "castle," being a good friend, meeting strangers and traveling through the kingdom with good manners, being pretty on the inside and the outside, dining, and having a grateful heart. In a conversational manner, our young princess explains the best way to behave, often reminding us what God desires of us in these areas. For example, when discussing caring for the "castle," she says:
"When I'm at home in my castle, I have lots of chances to use the magic kingdom words. I say these words when I need something or when someone does something nice for me or when I do something wrong. (Even princesses goof up sometimes!) And these magic words always work! They make me feel happy, and they make everyone around me feel happy, too. Are you ready to learn them? Here they are -
...And did you know that every princess has a special rule she follows? It even has a royal-sounding name! It's called the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
What I Like: Barnes makes learning good manners fun by incorporating playtime activities many girls enjoy, like tea parties and playing princess. Michal Sparks' watercolor illustrations show lots of fun costumes, and the last two pages of the book are actually paper dolls. (If you don't want to cut up the book, you could easily make color copies of these pages.)
What I Dislike: While the author does a pretty good job of bringing up biblical principles where appropriate, I wish she'd included Bible references and quotes, too. And although the Golden Rule is mentioned a few times, the author never explains that it comes from the Bible. Too, all the girls in this book are conspicuously Caucasian (although I do appreciate that they have healthy figures).
Overall Rating: I've hemmed and hawed whether to give this book a "Good" or "Very Good" review. For my daughter and me, it's somewhere in-between. She likes princess things only somewhat. If your child adores princesses, however, this is probably an ideal book for her.
Age Appeal: 4 - 8
Publisher Info: Harvest House, 2007; ISBN: 0736918558; hardback; $14.99
Buy it Now from ChristianBook.com for $11.99,
OR buy it from Amazon.com for $10.19
Special Info: Some parents will be put off by the mention of "magic" words in this book, as quoted above. Also, there is a boy's version of this book: A Little Hero in the Making."