THE OH!-SO-SECRET PRINCESS
by Anne Digby
Straw Hat Publishing
ages 5 and up
Princess Bee longs to be let out of the palace on her own, just for a day. Dressed up as an ordinary person! But the king and queen would NEVER allow such a thing. Her dream seems impossible until, one magical Monday, she gets the chance to escape at last. It's her very first day off from being a princess and what a surprising day it turns out to be......
Princess Bee has never really seen her kingdom. Sure, she's ridden with her parents during the parades, but she's still to small to see out of the windows. Even the citizens have never seen more than the tip of her tiara which peeks over the edge. Only one man has caught sight of her because he makes sure to wear stilts so he can peer down and smile at her. But Princess Bee has noticed that one of the servants, in particular, has days off...something a princess never has. And this servant wears ordinary clothes and goes into town to do ordinary things. Princess Bee may not be able to sneak out of the castle, but she's determined to, at least, wear ordinary clothes.
This book makes a perfect read aloud for ages 4 to 8, or a great first reader for those more sure and comfortable in their reading skills. Princess Bee is a sweet princess, never spoiled, and wonderfully curious about life. She never gets snotty or snippy but is determined. She makes mistakes, admits to them, and tries her best no matter what. In other words, she's a princess to cheer for and easy to connect to despite her tiara.
The story moves along at a wonderful pace, bringing new twists at just the right moment. It appears to be a simple tale at first, but the well worked plot grabs and hooks until the very end. There are a handful of simple but bright illustrations, which add something to look at but add little to the story. Nor do they need to. Princess Bee does run into troubles, and it's impossible not to feel for her as she tries to find footing in an ordinary world she doesn't understand. There's friendship, kindness, and simply clever moments at guarantee many smiles.