Pride of Princesses: Princess Tales from Around the World

Overview

Meet the princesses...

Mpunzanyana, the brave princess of the South African Xhosa, marries a five-headed serpent to save her sister. Lina, the spoiled princess of Germany, foolishly turns away the love of a king. And Maix, a headstrong princess of the Central American Maya, defies her father and runs away with her true love—only to be captured by an ogre.

Join these three princesses and many more for a breathtaking journey around the world and...

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Overview

Meet the princesses...

Mpunzanyana, the brave princess of the South African Xhosa, marries a five-headed serpent to save her sister. Lina, the spoiled princess of Germany, foolishly turns away the love of a king. And Maix, a headstrong princess of the Central American Maya, defies her father and runs away with her true love—only to be captured by an ogre.

Join these three princesses and many more for a breathtaking journey around the world and back through time, where anything can happen—including a happy ending.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Nancy Partridge
Folktales from around the world, all about princesses, have been assembled in this easy to read chapter book. Most importantly, it is about the inner qualities that make up the character of a princess. Many of the stories are not well known outside their own countries. Each has an introduction that tells about the country of origin, and briefly mentions other stories about princesses from the same culture. While the quick rundown of these other stories may pique some girls' interest, it was frustrating not to learn more about them. However, the stories themselves are well written, retold very simply in a personal style, as if they are being spoken instead of written. The black-and-white illustrations are really fantastic and add a lot of interest. There are notes on the stories in the back of the book, citing sources for a deeper look into the fascinating world of folklore. The text was originally published in 1996, but the illustrations have a 1999 copyright date. 1999 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5Originally published as a picture book, A Treasury of Princesses (HarperCollins, 1996), these seven stories are now presented in chapter-book format. In them, princesses can be heavenly bodies, show wisdom and courage, be put under spells, be imperfect, be imprisoned, or marry a beastly or transformed bridegroom. Each selection features a full-page black-and-white drawing and is preceded by an introduction that discusses similar tales. Source notes are included. With the possible exception of Psyche, most of these offerings will be new to young readers, but motifs such as a frog princess and a figure not unlike Brer Rabbit will be recognizable. This version will appeal to readers looking for chapter books that challenge them. It would work well in reading-discussion groups along with collections such as Bruce Lanskys Girls to the Rescue (Meadowbrook, 1995). However, libraries that already own Climos earlier volume, or that already have large collections of folk and fairy tales, may not need to purchase it.Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064421027
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Series: Trophy Chapter Bks.
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Shirley Climo's love of folklore began in her childhood and has provided the background for many of her children's books, such as The Korean Cinderella, Magic & Mischief: Tales from Cornwall, A Treasury of Princesses: Princess Tales from Around the World, A Treasury of Mermaids: Mermaid Tales from Around the World, and Someone Saw a Spider: Spider Facts and Folktales, an NCTE Teacher's Choice and Library of Congress Best Children's Book that was originally inspired by her research for Cobweb Christmas. Mrs. Climo and her husband live in Los Altos, California.

Angelo Tillery's sensitive and expressive art has graced books for children and young adults. He received his training at New York City's High School of Art and Design, and Parsons School of Design. He currently lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Mooon Maidens
China

Thousands of years ago, when Egyptians gazed up at the nighttime sky they thought they saw the face of the man in the moon staring back at them. They said that he'd been banished to the heavens as a punishment for misbehaving on earth.

For a princess, starring in the sky was a reward.

Stargazing people in early Estonia said that the Milky Way was the wedding veil of a sky princess named Lindu, the ancient Greeks also saw royal maidens in the outlines of the stars. One, the constellation called Andromeda, was named for the beautiffil Ethiopian princess who was saved from a sea serpent. Pacific people in Samoa and Tonga have maidens-in-the-sky myths, too.

The Ojibway people tell of a chief's daughter who left her family to become a bright star in the nighttime sky. In Japan, "The Shining Princess" tells the opposite story. A star princess leaves her heavenly home to come down to earth.

In a Romanian folktale and a Zuni legend, the caretakers of the sun and the moon are brother and sister. In this old story from China, two royal sisters and their brother share those same roles.

In China, in ancient times, people believed that the world was divided into three kingdoms. The Emperor of the Earth ruled the land. The Emperor of the Seas commanded the waters. And the Emperor of the Heavens watched over the sky. Each ruler tended to his own territory, not bothering the others, so they seldom quarreled.

Of the three, the Emperor of the Heavens was the most powerful. At his command, rain fell, wind whistled, and lightning cracked the clouds. His warriors, dressed in bright armor, werethe shining stars, and meteors streaking through the sky were his fiery dragons. The sun itself was home to his son, the Sky Prince. But of all he owned and ordered, the emperor was proudest of his two daughters, the Princesses of the Palace of the Moon.

Although both of these maidens were beautiful, they did not look alike. The princess named White Jade was slender and as pale and delicate as the new moon. The princess known as Golden Bird was plump and as rosy bright as the harvest moon. But what truly delighted their father was the princesses' cleverness with their needles. The two sisters stitched the lacy Milky Way, hung out bands of glimmering moonbeams, and decorated the nighttime sky with their dazzling embroideries.

"My heavenly princesses are without equal in any kingdom," boasted their father the emperor.

Such praise made White Jade blush and Golden Bird cast down her eyes, and they quickly bent over their needlework again.

Those on earth also heard the emperor's brag. Women, from girls to grandmothers, went out to gaze at the heavens and judge the Moon Maidens' work for themselves.

"In the hands of the princesses, even ordinary needles twinkle like stars," they agreed. None of them, young or old, went back to bed. They stayed awake all night, watching White Jade and Golden Bird work on their gleaming embroideries.

Babies, left alone, began to cry, and the mothers hurried to fetch them. But when the babies saw the moon, they howled even louder, for each wanted to hold the shiny ball.

Then boys and men ran outside to find the cause of such commotion. Speechless, they stared at the sky. They ignored the tapestry of tiny jewel-like stitches that stretched high above their heads. Instead they gawked, awestruck, at the lovely princesses themselves.

"In all the universe, these Moon Maidens are the most exquisite," cried a poet. At once he took up brush and ink to write a poem telling everyone in China about the beautiful sewing sisters.

Teachers and students scrambled up the slippery tiled roofs of their schools to gaze at White Jade and Golden Bird. Farmers left their fields and warriors deserted their posts to scale the mountains for a better look. Nightly, people pushed and elbowed each other to be first to see the moonrise.

The poet, tired from staying up all night, could not write another word. Drowsy students dozed at their desks in the daytime, farmers were too weary to plant the rice, and warriors fell sound asleep with their swords in their hands. Mistakes were made in everything, and nothing at all was done on time.

Even so, the princesses sat and sewed in the moonlight.

The Emperor of the Earth was furious. Shaking the ground with every footstep, he burst in on the Emperor of the Heavens.

"Your Princesses of the Palace of the Moon have turned day and night upside down," the earthly ruler rumbled. "Do something!"

The heavenly emperor did not want to break the peace between land and sky. "A thousand apologies, Honorable Cousin," he said. "Something shall be done."

Clapping his hands, he called for his daughters. When he told them of the earthly emperor's complaint, both maidens nodded. The princesses were modest and knew it was not proper for men to stare at them. Such worldly attention was alarming.

"Perhaps we could pull our embroideries over our heads," White Jade suggested.

"Or conceal ourselves at the back side of the moon," said Golden Bird.

The emperor frowned and tugged on his beard. "A princess does not hide," he declared. "Something must hide you instead."

The emperor ordered the winds of the four directions to blow a curtain of clouds over the face of the moon. The sky was blacker than a cormorant's wing, and those on the land below stumbled about in the darkness. Not even the thinnest ray of light could pierce the thick and woolly veil. Still, the Emperor of the Earth was pleased because, without the Moon Maidens to watch, the people slept by night and worked by day. The Emperor of the Heavens was pleased to have avoided a quarrel. And Princess White Jade and Princess Golden Bird were happy to stitch undisturbed.

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