In a far-off land, an enchantress consults her magic mirror about a complicated and difficult question: What makes a princess excellent? The enchantress has become godmother to a baby princess, and she wants to ensure the girl is as perfect as possible. But what characteristics might her godmother encourage in her? Should she be tidy? Beautiful? Kind to animals? Polite? These traits don’t seem like quite enough. At a loss, the enchantress casts her magic mirror into a journey across space and time to bring back tales of excellent princesses, and to tell her what qualities shine most brightly within them.
And the mirror does indeed find tales of princesses. It travels from great stone castles to modern-day skyscrapers, deserts to sea-surrounded islands, and the princesses it finds are more than just excellent. They navigate dangerous forests to find cures for their sisters, traverse nighttime deserts to warn their homelands of a coming threat, tame crocodiles and sail tumultuous seas. They are thoughtful, brave, resourceful, and kind. And perhaps among their stories, the enchantress will find the answer to the question the mirror set out for.
Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror is a beautifully illustrated, magical book, at once a novel and a collection of short stories. The eight tales of princesses, set around the world, stand alone as stories, and yet are intertwined with the journey of the mirror between them, throughout the ages, leading from a far-off time of magic and kings to a modern-day city. The princesses are independent, interesting, and unique, ready to do what needs to be done without help from princes, and their stories connect perfectly with the main plotline and the enchantress. Additionally, Lydia Corry’s whimsical illustrations throughout the book add to the feel of the stories. I recommend Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror to fans of Girls to the Rescue, or anyone who loves fairy tales and strong female characters ages seven and up.