Princesses Break Free

Princesses Break Free
Timothy Knapman and Jenny Lovlie
Walker Books

Timothy Knapman does a splendid job of stirring things up when it comes to princesses. Princess Tilly in this wonderful story – or rather the second part of same – not only challenges the stereotypical inactive damsel in distress ‘wait for a handsome prince to come and rescue me, then we’ll both live happily ever after’ princess image, but knocks it clean out of the court.

When this young princess is seized by a dragon she rescues herself by the creative use of some rather large knickers. But then she’s apprehended by her Fairy Godmother who admonishes Tilly and puts her in Princess Prison to learn proper princessy behaviour. That of course, Tilly is not prepared to tolerate and once again she rescues herself.

This mightily impresses another princess, one of the waiting to be rescued kind, or make that formerly of that kind. For, empowered by Tilly she makes a break for it and the two flap to freedom courtesy of two passing swans.

Before long new princess stories are spreading across the kingdom featuring mountain climbing princesses, jungle explorers and those who sailed the seven seas – the very things they’d always wanted to do. Left with nothing else to do all the dragons, witches and evil queens find alternative ways of occupying themselves and to their surprise have fun so doing, so much so that the now redundant princess-rescuing princes join them.

Indeed nothing is as before in this particular fairytale realm but taking one’s fate into one’s own hands doesn’t preclude the possibility of a ‘happily ever after’ ending, rather it does the complete opposite. Really truly it does.

With its deliciously divergent Princess Tilly showing the way, Timothy’s tale is a real winner in my book, Equally winning are Jenny Lovlie’s action-packed scenes of fairytale characters coming into their own as they decide to follow Tilly’s example and think outside their various boxes.