The Ugly Princess the Legend of the Winnowwood,
by Henderson Smith, CreateSpace Independent Publishing, (February 20, 2014)
For ages 10+, 234 pages (paperback)
I was given a electronic copy of this book to review and based on the little blurb Ms. Smith sent me I jumped at the chance to read this new fantasy for middle graders.
The dedication says it all to me:
“For all the girls who stand on the sidelines wishing they too could be beautiful. I hope you will let Olive show you how beautiful you truly are and the power that you already wield. Open your eyes to your own magic!” -H. Smith
I love this sentiment, and this book delivers. Olive is not pretty, in fact Princess Olive might be considered to be ugly by everyone except her animal friends who think she is the bravest and most beautiful person they know. Every time Olive uses her magic she becomes a little more physically ugly. But she can become beautiful if she gives up her magic. How much does becoming beautiful matter? How much is she willing to give up?
This is a beautiful fairytale story with enough hard action and adventure to appeal to both boys and girls. In a time of never ending self promotion, what a fantastic message that the beauty inside matters more. If you are a fan of Ella Enchanted or Princess Academy I think you will love this story. I will not spoil the ending, but if you are looking for a great tale for your kids this Summer, I could not recommend this book more highly.