A Damsel Not in Distress
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books First Editions
Regular readers of this blog may already know that I’m a fractured fairytales enthusiast and Bethan Stevens has chosen to turn the traditional Rapunzel story inside out, throwing the stereotypical helpless princess trope right out of the window. Our damsel states from the outset – or tries to – that she certainly is not distressed, nor is she trapped in her tower by a curse. Indeed she lives with her grandma and the castle moat is full not of horrific monsters, but ducks and frogs. In fact she seems pretty satisfied with her lot, except for the fact that her story is being spoiled at every turn of the page.
When her peaceful yoga session is interrupted,
she cleverly predicts the fate of the first gallant knight that comes to rescue her from the massive dragon that has appeared. The brave Prince Charming is equally unhelpful but who’s this? A gnome with acrophobia supposed to scramble up the brambles to the top of a tall tower – really?
Our protagonist has had enough and is determined to turn the story around so its finale is to her liking? Can she do so and how? Hot chocolate anyone?
This is huge fun with Bethan’s text and illustrations working really well together, and the expressions on the faces of the characters are hilarious be they human or animal.