by M.M. Kaye
When you are king
I shall be queen"
This is the story of Amy, the Ordinary Princess, whose fairy godmother arrived late to her christening because of a traffic jam and gave her the gift of ordinariness. While her six older sisters look perfect and princess-like, Amy has mousey hair, and a nose that turns up. Worst of all, she runs off to the forest whenever possible, and makes friends with squirrels and crows and such. She is so ordinary that all of the princes who come to court her leave as soon as possible.
In desperation, her parents hire a dragon to lay waste to the countryside, in hopes of attracting a prince. When Amy finds out, she leaves. When she ends up working in the kitchen of a neighboring king and meets a man of all trades, things begin to happen.
My awful plot summary does not do this book justice at all. It's a sweet story, with lovely little illustrations by the author. (Ignore the front cover.) I enjoy the king's rants, in particular:
"There had been a long debate in Council on 'The Advisability of Inviting Fairies to the Christening.' The King had been against it from the first, but he had ended by being overruled by the Queen, who had been backed up by the Prime Minister and the Lord High Chamberlain and a large majority of the councillors.
'Oh, all right--have it your own way,' said the King at last. 'But mind you, I think it's rash
. And I shall go on saying that it's rash. We didn't have any of these fairy nuisances at the christenings of my other daughters, and what happened?'
'Nothing,' said the Queen.
'Precisely,' said the King. 'Perfect peace and quiet. Everything went off beautifully; no fuss or bother and everyone had an extremely good time."
It's not only a sweet book, it's one which takes care to celebrate ordinariness and simple kindness. This is a book I would give to a young girl who needs a bit of encouragement, or who just likes a sweet, simple story. I still enjoy it quite a lot myself.