Thursday, 10 June 2010
The Naughty Princess by Anthony Armstrong, illustrated by A.K Macdonald 1946
This is a glorious book. A collection of short stories that were originally published in The Strand magazine (defunct long before I had ever glimpsed it) It’s a true delight. It’s that rare thing, a book that can be appreciated by children, but has been written for adults.
The book has the flavour of the wise cracking, fast moving New York in the forties and fifties. If it were a film it would undoubtedly star Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. It’s glamorous and very funny.
The turning upside down of the standard fairy tale is an absolute delight, and has the added advantage of feeling subversive, too. It also very cleverly avoids being at all whimsical or knowing.
Portly Kings and knights rub shoulders with magicians and knight, Queens keep a firm Royal hand on the gold, and princesses frolic with unsuitable suitors. A dragon called Pongo that lives in a supersized dog kennel made me long to own this exotic creature, especially as he would obligingly start a fire if you were feeling chilly. The illustrations are a joy, I would thoroughly recommend this for some uplifting and enchanting reading.
Second hand on Amazon it seems a bargain to me for a fiver. A keeper – I think. What about you?