The daring princess by Susanna Davidson. Illus. by Alessandra Santelli

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his is a re-telling of the Grimm fairytale, 'The Iron Stove', in which a princess frees a prince from an iron stove, after he was trapped there by a wicked witch. But no sooner has she freed him, than the witch appears and snatches the prince away. Now the princess must climb a glass mountain, cross a lake and a field of swirling spikes to save him.

When the collectors of traditional tales started writing them to preserve them, they focused on those which reflected the ideas and ideals of the time, so we have stories like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty in which the princesses were patient and polite, and there was a strong message that encouraged children to do the right thing or else. Those stories featuring feisty, girls able to fight their own battles were ignored, but as times change new collectors are searching for and recovering other stories. Many of these have been included in Forgotten Fairy Tales of Brave and Brilliant Girls and now Usborne is releasing a new series of single stories especially written for the newly independent reader. Featuring short chapters, larger font and plenty of illustrations, they are ideal for supporting a fairytale focus enabling young readers to be able to access something different that supports their needs.

Barbara Braxton