The Songs Stuck in My Head This Spring

The Last 10 Songs I Shazamed

I had big plans to write a real serious post today. But you know what? I’m not in the mood for real serious. So, let’s talk music, eh? What you’re listening to, what I’m listening to, how sad I’m going to be when my trial subscription to satellite radio runs out next month . . . You know, important BUT FUN stuff!

So, do you Shazam? It’s an app that identifies songs playing wherever you are. So if you hear a song on the radio . . . or in a restaurant . . . or in an elevator, open Shazam and hit listen. Then . . . shazam! Just like that, it tells you what song is playing and who sings it, with the lyrics and links to the video and places to buy it (of course).

I LOVE IT.

It’s really very smart. When I pulled it up just now, it automatically identified the “music” it could hear in my living room: a rerun of Parks and Recreation. Heh. I’m not embarrassed to admit it also identified a Boy Meets World rerun when I first had the idea for this post and looked at my recent Shazams.

ANYWAY.

Here are the most recent songs I’ve Shazam-ed.

  • I Lived (One Republic) – I love the lyrics in the verses to this song and forget every time I hear it that a) I do know who sings it and b) I don’t love the chorus nearly as much. Oh well.
  • Geronimo (Sheppard) – I’ve Shazam-ed this one more than once, because I love it. And apparently have a memory problem.
  • Break Up With Him (Old Dominion) – I feel like I should hate this song, what with the talking in it and my documented public stance against country rap. But darn it, I kind of like it. It’s ridiculous. I know. I have no excuse. (Also, it’s kind of mixed up in my head with I Want to Take Your Time by Sam Hunt. More dumb talking in the middle of a song. Sigh.)
  • Trouble (Gloriana) – Last year country music was all dudes, all the time. So when I actually hear a new country song by a female artist (or, in this case, female lead in a group), I get excited!
  • Want to Want Me (Jason Derulo) – I’m in my car a lot, and sometimes I’m even alone (or with Adrienne who adores music but doesn’t get lyrics yet). When that happens, I can’t resist this one. I know it’s gross. But . . . it’s catchy, okay? Kind of has an old-school vibe, like Classic by MKTO or most songs by Bruno Mars or Justin Timberlake. (Big surprise, me liking a retro sound, right?)
  • Bills (LunchMoney Lewis) – Have you heard this one? It’s just funny. That’s all. Although I wonder about this guy. Are all his songs going to be about money? Because of his name? I mean, look at Vanilla Ice. He tried singing (rapping?) songs not about ice, and it did not work out for him. I mean, the guy’s gone Amish and DIY Network!
  • Day One (Matthew West) – I heard this again yesterday and think it might be the new Giving Up on Perfect anthem.
  • Riptide (Vance Joy) – I love this song. And I’ve Shazam-ed it more than once, too. (Good thing I’m making a list. Clearly my memory is lacking these days!)
  • FourFiveSeconds (Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney) – I need to listen to the lyrics of this song, I’m sure. They’re probably awful. But until then, it is catchy as all get out!
  • Trouble (Iggy Azalea & Jennifer Hudson) – Thank you to whoever shared the Sean Hayes lip sync video to this song on Facebook. You have given me hours (okay, minutes) of entertainment and delight. Also, I love this song and this video and Jennifer Hudson’s short, sassy haircut.

Huh. Out of 10 songs I have two named Trouble. Weird. Or appropos? Don’t answer that. Answer this —>

What song have you Shazam-ed, thumbed up, or otherwise liked lately?

Photo source

Mama [Still] Loves Her Shows

Mama Loves Her Shows logo

Once upon a time I started a TV blog. It was called, “Mama Loves Her Shows,” and it was awesome. It was also, as some of my favorite shows have been, short-lived. It didn’t take long – just a few months, actually – for me to realize I could not possibly keep up two blogs.

So since then, my many very important thoughts about my favorite TV shows have been mostly contained to my monthly What I’m Into posts. Sure, on occasion, I can’t resist telling you just exactly how I felt about the end of a TV series. And, okay fine, I tend to tell you what I’m watching every season.

But, believe it or not, I actually have more to say.

And, believe it or not, some people want me to say more. [Really? REALLY!] Friends actually come to me for television-related information and advice. And opinions. Anyone asking me about TV knows they’re going to get opinions. [Well, really, anyone asking me about anything knows they're likely to get opinions.]

All this ran through my mind a few weeks ago when a friend suggested I start a regular “Ask Mary” entertainment column here on the blog. At first I thought she was crazy. Who would even ask me questions? But then I realized that lots of people ask me TV questions outside of the blog, so why not put them all together for a fun post each month?!

Next month, I’ll post my first “Mama Still Loves Her Shows” column. But before I can write it, I need your questions! Hit me with your burning questions about season finales, summer shows, the next thing you need to watch on Netflix, or anything else you can think of!

Until then, I’m asking the questions …

What’s your favorite TV show right now?

WFMW: Short Seasons

WFMW - Short TV Seasons

Today it was really hot – at least for April in Missouri. At 84 degrees, I regretted my choice to wear jeans and sincerely considered turning on the air conditioner. I didn’t. But I thought about it.

After school Annalyn asked me how high the temperature had gotten, and she said, “Yay! It’s almost summer! I love summer because it’s the longest.” I explained to her how, if we go by the calendar, each season is the same length. (She’s a super smart first-grader, so she immediately figured out that meant three months per season.) Here in the Midwest, the calendar is pretty accurate. All seasons are created [mostly] equal.

Of course, the same cannot be said for all TV seasons. The average full-length network television season is 20-26 episodes long. And that’s great! {For my new readers, this might be news to you. But I’m a Big Fan of TV.} Today, though, I contend that sometimes shorter is better.

Yes, that’s right. I said it. Short seasons of TV can be a good thing! And I’m not even going to stop there. Oh no, there’s more. I’ll even confess that sometimes I think short series are a good thing, too!

*GASP!*

Now, before you start throwing your remotes at me, hear me out. I am not saying that your favorite show [insert Freaks & Geeks, Firefly, Moonlight or other one-season wonder here] should have been cancelled. I LOVED THOSE SHOWS, TOO. (Except Moonlight. I never watched it. But I’m sure I’d love it if I did.)

And I’m not talking about the short reboots or reunions or revisions or WHATEVER of old shows (The X-Files, Twin Peaks, 24, Full House, Who Knows What’s Next). Nope, not talking about that and the Lack-of-Original-Ideas-itis going around at all.

But sometimes it’s kind of nice not to be locked into a television commitment for five full years. Making it to syndication is great, but that means I’ve been stuck with a show – for better or worse – for 100 episodes. That’s a LOT, you guys.

While it drives me crazy the way that cable stations play by their own rules and produce TV shows with whatever number of seasons they feel like and air them whenever they darn well please (or so it seems), I do like the shorter seasons part of it. Earlier this year, I got behind watching Suits. I realized I had five or six episodes backed up on my DVR and I wasn’t sure I could catch up. But I could – and you know why? Because that’s ALL THERE WAS of this season. Or, season section? The winter season? I don’t know; like I said, the cable people do weird things. But my point is – I could much more easily catch up on a show I really enjoy because it was six hours of TV, not twenty-six.

A more popular example might be The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which an entire nation of TV lovers devoured in one week. Because it was 13 episodes and no more. (For now. Don’t panic. Netflix signed the show for two seasons from the get-go.)

Also, as excited as Mark and I were to start watching The West Wing together, we’ve spent more time watching Sherlock. Why? Because there’s so much LESS to catch up on! The thought of seven full seasons is so overwhelming! (Especially when we remember how long it took us to get through Friday Night Lights, which was five seasons long but each of those seasons included just 10 or so episodes.)

So I like shorter seasons. Sometimes. But I also like the trend of short series. Not the series we love that were cut short (I’m talking Veronica Mars, I’m talking Pushing Daisies, I’m talking Arrested Development before the weird online episodes.). Those are in a special category of their own.

[Side note: I finally read the second Veronica Mars novel, and when I finished it, I literally said out loud, "I hate you, Rob Thomas!" Because reading the books was exactly like watching the movie, which was exactly like watching the show. And I WANT MORE. And according to all the googling I could stand, THERE WILL BE NO MORE. Pass the tissues?]

So, I’ve been thinking about this short season/short series thing, and I thought I should probably make a list. And since I miss old-school blogging, when listing my favorite things WAS A WHOLE, REAL POST, I’m going to go ahead and do that right here.

Short-Lived TV Shows

Ready? Here goes:

TV Shows I Loved That Planned Short Seasons

  • Marvels of SHIELD: Agent Carter (I’m hoping for a second season but okay without it.)
  • Hindsight (thankfully renewed for another [probably short] season – whee!)
  • Galavant (Honestly, I only enjoyed this one BECAUSE it was short.)

Cancelled Shows I Loved That Ended Well

  • Missing (This one had Ashley Judd who was Just a Mom! Looking for Her Son! – remember? I really liked it but didn’t mind it being just one season. It wrapped up the main storyline in the finale, so I was satisfied with was honestly felt like a long movie.)
  • Last Resort (Did anyone else watch this one? With Scott Speedman and Andre Braugher? I really liked it but wasn’t really looking forward to them stretching it out long term. One [season] and done was good for me.)
  • Better Off Ted (I think I’ve rewatched this show three times. If you like dark comedy, dry humor or workplace funny business, this is for you. The good news about it only being two seasons is that you can watch the whole thing in days. Maybe even while you’re at work.)
  • The Crazy Ones (This was on last year and starred Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar. They worked in an ad agency, and as someone who’s done that, I liked the show a lot. It didn’t end abruptly so I guess I won’t complain. Too much.)
  • Allegiance (This show was cancelled, but NBC is showing the episodes that were filmed online and On Demand. I’m really hoping they wrap it up well and don’t leave us hanging. That would be super annoying.)

Shows I Wish Would’ve Lasted Longer But You Can’t Win ‘Em All, So At Least We Had a Few Episodes

  • Selfie – #ineedclosure #thisturnedouttobesogood #sadsadsad
  • Benched – decent end to its first season, but I sure hoped for a second.
  • Breaking In – I’m a sucker for any TV show starring Christian Slater, it seems. And he’s a sucker for shows destined to fail.
  • Samantha Who & Up All Night – before these shows, I didn’t know Christina Applegate is so funny. She is. And I hope she finds a new show that lasts more than a couple seasons soon. Or at least gets to be a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance, because that’s fun, too.
  • Traffic Light & Perfect Couples – these two sitcoms were on the same time as Happy Endings. They were also shows about young-ish, professional-ish friends doing silly things and figuring out life. Much as I enjoyed Happy Endings, I still wish these two shows (especially Traffic Light, which I discovered tonight is on Netflix and will probably take up my next two or three free evenings) would have had a chance, too.
  • A couple old ones – The Class (just look it up on IMDB and check out the all-star roster! HOW did it not make it?) and Miss Match (Alicia Silverstone as a matchmaker. It was adorable. No, really.)
  • A couple surprising ones – Don’t Trust the B– in Apt. 23 (I know. It sounds awful, but it was funny. James Vanderbeek is pretty funny playing himself.) and Whitney (which I said at the time was horrible, but then I kept watching it and laughing and DARNIT, it turns out I liked it.)
  • And a few more that fall into no category at all – Trophy Wife (worst case of Wrong Name for a Sitcom since Cougar Town), Enlisted (funny and sweet and a shame nobody watched it), Against the Wall (family of cops on a Lifetime TV show – what more could you want?), Privileged (Joanna Garcia tutors rich kids. I think on the CW. So of course I liked it.) and Bent (the show that made me realize I will, apparently, watch David Walton in many, many short-lived TV shows)

So, there you have it. Short seasons (and series) sometimes work for me. [Short posts, it seems, do not. I have lots of words.]

What’s your favorite short TV show?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

Photo source

What I’m Into :: March 2015

March 2015 - baby pic

THAT FACE. You guys! I tried so hard to get a sweet shot of her in the bathtub, but I’m realizing that while my girls are strong and smart and kind and hilarious, they may not technically ever be sweet.

But the POINT IS that Adrienne is – miraculously and suddenly – no longer afraid of the bath. I kind of want to throw one of those ridiculous parties the parents in the diaper commercials do for toddlers who finally flush. But since I was short on confetti and disco lights and party music in the bathroom, I grabbed the camera and snapped a couple dozen shots of this cheesy grin instead!

Another milestone this month is a new word. Annalyn taught Adrienne to say, “Boom!” As in, drop the mic boom. It is as hilarious as you expect.

As I told someone earlier in the week, I had such big plans for March. And yet, here we are at the end of the month already! We were busy, although I’m not sure with what. Well, spring break happened. Or, spring no-break, as this video calls it.

Really, I was a bit nervous about nine long days of all kids, all the time. But we survived! I made the right amount of plans, so we had stuff to do but weren’t crazy busy. And we’re on Parenting Strategy #482 with Annalyn – and it seems to be working. Her behavior, which had morphed from barely tolerable sassy to unacceptable disrespect, has improved greatly. Which made spring break-or-not a whole lot better than anticipated.

Other big events in March included my mom’s tea party, trading cars, and Dr. Seuss week at Annalyn’s school. About five months before finding out I was pregnant with Adrienne, we traded our small SUV for a small car. Because we had accepted that we would be a family of three, that a second pregnancy was not in the cards for us, that a small car would be plenty sufficient. Since last January, the four of us traveling anywhere together has been uncomfortable or humorous – depending on if you were the clowns in the car or simply someone watching us climb out. We’d been talking about trading cars for a few months and after research and budget negotiation, we traded our small car for a different, new-to-us SUV. It’s roomy and kinda, sorta purple (burgundy, but I’m going with “kinda, sorta purple”), and I love it.

What do I love even more than that? Annalyn’s costume for the big finale to Dr. Seuss week. Even though we do not own – nor was I about to go find and buy – a Cat in the Hat hat, Annalyn insisted on dressing up as the Cat on Friday. Of course, I spent all week in Dr. Seuss denial, hoping she’d forget her elaborate costume plans. She did not. So the morning of the big day, I ended up running around the house like a MacGyver mom – and ended up with a super cute costume for her. I mean, I’m not putting it on Pinterest or anything, but when you consider we pulled it together in less than 30 minutes, in a less-than-crafty house? Well, check it out:

March 2015 - Dr Seuss day

I know, I know, it’s mostly her face. After costume construction, we didn’t have time for a real photo shoot. She had a black shirt, leggings and skirt already. We added cat ears from her first Halloween and I cut up a pair of too-small black tights for a tail that I tucked into her pants. Then I grabbed one of her too-small white undershirts and cut an oval. I was in a hurry, so it ended up with very jagged edges. I told her it was on purpose, so it looked like hair. At that point it was too late for fabric glue and, as it turns out, I don’t own a single safety pin. So I threaded a needle real fast (heh. as fast as anyone who rarely sews can thread a needle.) and whip-stitched that puppy on her shirt.

Add some eyeliner whiskers and voila! Kinda, sorta Cat in the Hat!

That’s what I’ve been up to in real life this month. How about you?

Reading March 2015

What I’m Reading:

Ohhhh, right. I’m remembering now where my time went. Granted, I’m trying to recap two months of reading here, but still. It’s possible those uncrossed-off items on my to-do list have lots and lots of books to blame. I like to pretend that I have diverse tastes. Which I do. I do! Since the beginning of the year, I’ve read entire series (or as much of a series as has been published) about medieval knights, a fairy princess, teenage aliens, prep school detectives, and Southern sorcerers. They weren’t ALL young adult books, and they weren’t all Christian fiction. They weren’t ALL paranormal or science fiction or fantasy. See! I’m mixing things up!

Here’s a quick rundown of those series:

  • The Lynburn Legacy trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan – A young adult Gothic romance with an interesting premise. The main character is in love with a boy . . . who is the voice in her head. Unsurprisingly, it’s not schizophrenia; it’s magic! The kind that goes back for generations and takes a small town hostage until a small band of rebels fight back. Sure, sure, that part’s not original, but I liked this series a lot.
  • Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor – A private school, a new girl, a mysterious mystery and a love triangle. Nothing new here – and it wasn’t nearly as good as The Gallagher Girls series – but it was fun and fluffy and exactly what I needed as I worked toward my own book deadline.
  • Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I’m still waiting to read the fifth (and final) book in this series…about teenage aliens. I know, okay? I KNOW. But I actually liked the characters for the most part and the story WAS interesting. But also, when I needed a break from the intense, real emotions of book-writing, adolescent aliens did the trick. Don’t judge me.
  • Age of Faith series by Tamara Leigh – This series (of five books) was recommended to me. And I have really liked other books by this author. But I had a hard time getting past the covers. You guys? They’re super cheesy. And I don’t always love historical fiction, and straight romance isn’t really my thing these days. But as it turns out, these stories about a family of medieval knights and their lady loves, well, they were lovely. Emotional, yes, but with great dialogue and compelling enough plot twists to keep me turning the pages until I reached the end of the series.
  • The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa – I only read the first two books in this series, and I think I’m finished with it. It was a little boring to me, for some reason. Nerdy girl turns out to be a real-life fairy princess and has to save the fairy world. I normally like that sort of thing, but not this time.
  • Trust Me I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer – This book’s description compared it to Ally Carter’s Heist Society series. It did involve con artists, some of the teenage variety. And I did like it. But, apparently, nothing compares to Carter’s books in my mind. Still, I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.
  • Jackaby by William Ritter – I saw this book – a paranormal sort of Sherlock Holmes – on a lot of people’s Must Read lists, so I read it. I liked the main character (not Jackaby), but the book itself was slow and kind of boring to me. I’m pretty sure I won’t be reading any more in this series.

My favorite read of the past couple of months is, by far, The Collectors’ Society by Heather Lyons. It’s a fairy tale retelling plus time travel plus romance plus mystery. It’s a book about books and characters and how real they can become. It’s incredibly creative, and I loved it!

[Side note, aka warning: The second book in the series is written from both a male and female point of view. I like the male character, but I did not like being inside his head during the love scenes. At all. Ick. Definitely more graphic than I like. But everything else about this series was so great that I skimmed those parts and am overlooking it for now (and hoping the third book is more like the first in that regard).]

Also? I may have (definitely) yelled at the author when I realized the second book ends on a cliffhanger and I have no idea when the next book will be published.

Next month, I’m looking forward to finally reading the second Veronica Mars book, Savor by Shauna Niequist, Landline by Rainbow Rowell, Love the Home You Have by Melissa Michaels, and Women are Scary by Melanie Dale. (Actually, I already started that last one and it’s SO GOOD!)

What I’m Watching:

Oh my WORD. If you all haven’t watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, stop what you’re doing and WATCH IT NOW. Or at least watch the news report above, which is part of the series premiere and then serves as the series theme song. And then? JUST TRY not to walk around singing it All The Day Long.

“Un-break-able! They’re alive, dammit! The FEMALES are strong as hell!”

Sorry for the language. Except…I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING AND SINGING AND LAUGHING.

It’s been a big month (couple of months) for TV, actually. Kimmy Schmidt is awesome, obviously – super funny, as I expected, since it’s from Tina Fey (but wasn’t sure since the premise is a little odd). But I also started watching West Wing and Sherlock on Netflix, as well as Allegiance on NBC. Parks and Recreation ended forever (*sob*), and Hindsight ended for now. Oh, and I saw a couple movies, too.

3765_sherlock_bbc

Sherlock: You guys! Why didn’t you TELL ME? I’m kidding. Everything you said was true. I love it. I’d really like to take a vacation day from Real Life and watch All The Episodes. Alas. No vacation days left, so little by little will have to do. (Plus, I convinced Mark to watch, so now I get to watch the first four episodes again. Bonus!)

West Wing: After finishing the amazing Friday Night Lights, Mark and I did a lot of debating about our next old show to watch together. West Wing was the winner, and we’ve watched a handful of episodes so far. It may take us the next three years to get through the entire series (we only have a couple hours a week), but it will be worth it, I’m sure. So far, it’s GREAT.

Allegiance: “The network version of Americans” – that’s the description that hooked me. I’m too delicate [Fine. Wimpy.] for Americans, so this is perfect for me. Of course, that means this family spy show has already been cancelled. I’m watching the remaining episodes on On Demand and hope-hope-hoping they wrap it up before it ends for good.

Parks & Rec: I love it. The finale was beautiful. That’s all I can say without crying. *sniff*

Hindsight: I’ve told you before how much I love this 90s-nostalgic, time-traveling show on VH1. It ended strong and has already been renewed for another season. Which is a relief because that strong ending was not just an amazing musical montage and meltdown; it was also a cliffhanger.

And then, the movies. We rented “Kill the Messenger,” a based-on-a-true-story, political/journalism movie. We usually love this kind of movie, but it was really boring and we quit watching halfway through. Sad.

Not sad was Jupiter Ascending. Smitty had promised to take me to see it when I turned in my manuscript, since she knows and tolerates my penchant for science fiction. Or Channing Tatum. I mean, science fiction. (She doesn’t really have to tolerate that part, though. She’s kind of a geek like me.) Anyway. We went to see it. Smitty said, “That was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen!” Nah. She forgot that we watched A Winter’s Tale a few months ago. Jupiter Ascending was silly, cheesy, unoriginal and – honestly? – a lot of fun. So there.

What I’m Listening to:

Whew! It seems I was INTO a lot over the past couple of months! How about you?

What were YOU into in March?

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for What I’m Into. It’s one of my favorite places to get book, TV and movie recommendations!

15+ Princess Books for Smart, Strong Girls

Princess Books for Smart, Strong Girls

“I save the kingdom. As usual.”

 
Though it’s not hard to find boring and/or sexist fairy tales with helpless princesses in the children’s book section, these days a parent can also find plenty of not-so-typical princess stories that teach kids about kindness, bravery, individuality and common sense. Helping others and being true to yourself, it turns out, are just as appealing to children as fancy dresses and true love’s kiss. And sometimes, when it’s done right, you can even get both in one story.

(Although, really, it’s not like my seven-year-old needs any kind of kissing in her stories. I’d rather her books be kiss-free for now, actually.)

I’ve written about books that feature smart and spunky princesses before, but I decided it was time for a second edition. Also, I’ve noticed it’s harder to find clean books about strong girls for kids like my daughter – a seven-year-old who reads chapter books well above her age level.

As I shared earlier this week, we’re not really in a frilly, pastel pink phase in our house right now. However, as I also mentioned, even if we’re not in a princess state of mind, a little glitter and a twirly dress are always fun. So, because I’ve had all that girly stuff on my mind recently, because I have two daughters who love Sofia the First and Abby Cadabby as much as Handy Manny and PAW Patrol, because Disney’s latest version of Cinderella was released this week…

I’ve found nearly 20 princess books for you and your girls that feature unusual, unexpected and not-so-typical heroines and storylines. And because I have both a very little girl and a girl who’s not so little anymore, I looked for – and found! – both picture books and chapter books.

15+ Princess Books for Smart, Strong Girls

  • Part-time Princess by Deborah Underwood: Out of all the picture books, this was by far my favorite! The quote at the beginning of the post comes from this part-time princess who is a normal girl by day and a brave, heroic, diplomatic, adventurous princess by night.
  • The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews: This is the first book of several featuring a girl who sparkles so much inside that she just knows (JUST KNOWS) she’s a princess. My favorite line from the Valentine’s Day book in the series is, “Fairy princesses are at their sparkly best making people smile.”
  • Princess Peepers by Pam Calvert: As a fellow four-eyes, I love this story! A little princess loves her glasses…until she goes to princess school and the mean princesses make fun of her. Long story short (although it’s a picture book, so the story is not actually long), she realizes in the end that wearing glasses is a great part of who she is.
  • The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane Auch: Princess Paulina’s dad gave up his kingdom to start a business, and she is tired of the peasant life. In an effort to get back to princessing, Paulina enters a Bachelorette-style contest to win the hand of a prince. Though she’s much too practical to get eliminated in early rounds, her sassy mouth gets her in trouble with the queen. Lucky for Paulina, she accidentally invents pizza, refuses the “prize” of the prince, and opens her own restaurant.
  • Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson: Neighbors to that shallow, wimpy, whiny Ella, Edna is much better. That’s the moral of this story, really. Honestly the tone is a bit rude (if you happen to have sparkly previews of the new Cinderella on the mind), but it’s funny and teaches readers to be themselves.
  • A Gold Star for Zog by Julia Donaldson: This seems like a story about dragons (which led me to consider writing a separate post about dragon books…), but it’s really the story of a princess who wants to be a doctor and not a princess. In the end, she even trains her would-be rescuer prince to be a doctor, too!

15+ Princess Books for Smart, Strong Girls

  • Princess Hyacinth : {The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated} by Florence Parry Heide: Hyacinth is a normal princess, except…she floats. This unusual book has fun typography, but also keeps Hyacinth in her royal underwear more than I liked. I mean, in public. She was in her underwear in public. So that’s weird, but it’s still a cute story.
  • Don’t Kiss the Frog! : Princess Stories with Attitude by Fiona Waters: This collection of princess stories wasn’t my favorite – and included more find-the-prince motivation than I like for my princesses, but it also featured stories about being yourself and using common sense. And I like those things.
  • Dangerously Ever After by Dashka Slater: Princess Amanita has a garden full of dangerous plants, and that suits her just fine. She likes dangerous things – until she’s lost in the woods. A strange bouquet of noses (nope, not roses) leads her to safety and, yes, a prince. It’s a quirky little story, but I like that. Weird is wonderful and all that, you know?
  • The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale: This easy chapter book is about another crime-fighting (or, at least, monster-fighting) princess who is so brave she even inspires Goat Boy to train to fight monsters, too. Very fun book!
  • Princess Joy’s Birthday Blessing (The Princess Parables) by Jeanna Young and Jacqueline Johnson: My cousin gave Annalyn one of The Princess Parables books, and we love it. This series of books is about a family of princesses (sisters) and each book tells a biblical parable about one of them. If you are looking for fun books that lead your kids back to God, this is definitely a series to add to your collection.
  • Princess Patty Meets Her Match by Charise Mericle Harper: Okay, so this IS a book about a princess looking for her prince, but this particular princess is full of common sense. And the illustrations are very cute. But when she finally meets her prince (I know. Insert eye roll here.), the books tells us that they “grew up and lived thoughtfully, generously, compassionately, and helpfully ever after.” Plus, it goes on to tell us, “the prince was a great cook.” Heh.

I also read about The Secret Lives of Princesses by Philippe Lechermeier, but I wasn’t able to check it out from the library yet. So I can’t give you a real review other than to tell you it’s described as a catalog of quirky, lesser-known princesses full of wit and beautiful illustrations. I’m looking forward to reading it with Annalyn soon!

5 Chapter Books About Princesses for Smart, Strong Girls

If your kids are a bit past the picture book phase, don’t despair! Smart princess chapter books DO exist! However, I’ll caution you to read descriptions to find the recommended reading age, as well as parent reviews. I use Common Sense Media and Shelfari for that. Several of these books are the first in a series – or the author has other similar fairy tale books. For now, Annalyn is reading The Wide-Awake Princess (a Christmas present we gave her!), but we’ll wait a year or two for the others.

Anyway, here are the chapter books for not-so-typical princesses I found!

What’s your favorite princess story or book?