The Secret Lives of Princesses by Philippe Lechermeier and illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer had a release date of this past week and so far is receiving positive even glowing reviews. I haven't seen it yet in person, but it looks like fun to me, definitely playful with clever humor, perhaps slightly European in flavor. I'm not a princessy girl myself, but this one looks like it would change my mind for at least a few hours.
Book description from the publisher:
Go beyond Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella! Some princesses are well-known to all children—but others, equally magical (and sometimes, a lot funnier) have remained anonymous, mysterious, and far from the fairy-tale crowd.
Now these captivating ladies are finally stepping out of the shadows where they’ve remained hidden for far too long. With wit, sublime humor, and beautiful art, The Secret Lives of Princesses introduces a bevy of royal daughters to the court of young readers. While it alludes to some of their more famous sisters, this large and lusciously illustrated compendium presents such unique and unforgettable characters as the petite Princess Claire Voyant, who can see very far into tomorrow (but muddles her predictions); Princess Oblivia, who forgets everything and misses all her appointments; Princess Tangra-La, who does the tango, the fandango, and any dance that comes her way; and Princess Babbling Brooke, who chatters on and on about everything and nothing. Plus, you’ll learn about such princessy matters as the language of fans; coats of arms; and how not to offend dangerous fairies who cast evil spells.
Poetic, often humorous, and always enchanting, this is the perfect collection for princess-loving girls who long for more than just the traditional fairy tale.
Review from Publishers Weekly:
This generous, large-format contribution to the library of princess reference works pushes into middle-reader range. The work of a French team (both making their U.S. debut), it features droll copy, sly sidebars (on princess-related topics that range from four-poster beds to parasols), and theatrically lit princesses painted from all sorts of inventive angles. Lechermeier supplies biographies for more than 20 fictional princesses--Princess Tangra-la, who "dresses wildly, without care, in secondhand clothes"; Princess Paige, who "divides her days into chapters and dreams up titles for each one"; and Princess Sticky-Fingers, who "cracks safes with great style"--as well as notes about princess life ("A princess's tears are prized the world over.... Like invisible ink, they are used to compose the sweetest songs"). Dautremer's Princess Tangra-la dances with such abandon that her socks, watch, and jewelry go flying; other spreads show princesses defeating armies with barrages of tiny, cutout words or bicycling delicately along telephone wires. There's even an index. It's too long to be covered in one bedtime, and parents of princess fans will be forced to check for flashlights under the covers. Ages 7–up.
And there is a sneaky Prince S apparently, too.
The book is also available at Barnes and Noble, where I discovered it online, and also captured some of these images as an affiliate. All the other links in this post are to Amazon or its European siblings. It has also just been released in the UK.
The book was originally released in France in 2007 as Princesses oubliées ou inconnues. In France, the author and illustrator team have a more recent release, Journal Secret du Petit Poucet. Although the popularity for the princess book has also caused multiple editions and variations, such as Princesses: Livre secret and Princesses oubliées ou inconnues: Tome 1.
(I love this cover. Just had to share it. Even though when you look at it, you realize that her body position is insanely impossible. Unless you are a princess, I guess.)