The Barnes & Noble Review
Princess Mia, Grandmère, and other priceless characters are giving sound advice on being a royal in this hilarious Princess Diaries book from Meg Cabot.
Wondering how to prevent your tiara from falling off? What about keeping your skin squeaky clean? And those nasty military threats from neighboring principalities -- what a hassle! These problems and more are answered in many sidesplitting sections introduced by Princess Mia, from Chez Paolo's Paolo on beauty tips to Tina Hakim Baba's take on "The Mysterious World of Guys" to Prince René's advice on being a sport. Other guest entries include wisdom about etiquette, fashion, and education, and Princess Mia winds up the guide with heartening final opinions on the true qualities of a real princess ("Being a princess is more of an attitude, really, than a way of life.")
With Cabot's Princess Lessons in hand, any girl will be talking the regal talk and walking the royal walk in no time. Princess Mia's sage words will speak to any aristocratic wannabe, while Chesley McLaren's splendidly simple illustrations are the perfect match. A how-to handbook that's most certainly as grand as the crown jewels themselves. Shana Taylor
Fans of the Princess Diaries will not want to miss Meg Cabot's Princess Lessons: A Princess Diaries Book, illus. by Chesley McLaren, delivered with the series' signature wicked humor (between the paper-over-board covers in a princessiest of pink volume). From Paolo's "Pretty Princess" beauty tips ("I, Paolo, am the one who turned the Principessa Amelia from Ugly Duckling into Swan") to the Dowager Princess of Genovia's strict rules of etiquette ("Princesses always keep their knees close together when sitting. This is so that the populace gathered before you... does not catch a glimpse of your unmentionables!") to tips on fashion from Her Royal Highness Princess Mia herself, this masterguide to monarchy will have princesses sprouting up nationwide. McLaren's chic drawings combine fashion flair with fun asides (such as Mia thrusting a booted leg skyward for her grandmother's "knees together" pointer). Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Packaged in diary size and bound in the brightest royal pink, this etiquette manual is partly spoof and partly sensible advice (as far as it goes) for aspiring princesses. With an introduction by Her Royal Highness Princess Mia Thermopolis (heir to the throne of Genovia while remaining a freshman at New York's Albert Einstein High), the guide goes on to explain what Mia has been learning during her princess lessons from royal Grandmère, staying at the Plaza. Teens who have read Meg Cabot's other bestselling Princess Diaries will recognize makeup expert Paolo of Chez Paolo, Mia's friend Tina Hakim Baba, and all the others who share secrets of beauty, manners, fashion, education, character, and BOYS. Standards for a princess are extremely elevated, but when they soar too high, the pomposity is neatly popped by a barbed comment from Mia, printed in pink. Chesley McLaren (illustrator of Zat Cat! and You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!) contributes her chic, tongue-in-cheek illustrations, capturing in pink and black the essence of Princess Mia, especially when she's wearing combat boots. While devouring these fascinating and amusing guidelines for life, Princess fans will do well to heed the royal advice: "Princesses, like people, come in all different shapes and sizes...Being a princess is more of an attitude, really, than a way of life." This latest addition to the popular "Princess Diaries" series is served up, sharp and cool as raspberry sorbet at the Plaza, by Cabot and McLaren, both residents of New York. 2003, HarperCollins, Talcroft
Cabot charmed readers with her Princess Diaries series, which stars Mia Thermopolis as an average (read: awkward) teenage girl from New York who discovers that she is actually the heir to the throne of Genovia, a small European country. To prepare her for her duties, Mia's grandmother tutors the somewhat reluctant Mia through what she calls "Princess Lessons." In this book, Mia shares her newfound knowledge with her readers: "All you need to know to be a princess-or just live like one." Essentially a guidebook for teenage girls, it includes practical advice on health, beauty, fashion, and manners, but the book is made entertaining by such familiar characters as Paolo, Tina Hakim Baba, Sebastiano, and of course, Mia herself. Some of the advice is very specific to princesses-such as proper tiara maintenance-but much of it is quite useful for those without blue blood. Without even noticing, teenage girls will learn the importance of good posture, proper e-mail etiquette, and five easy ways to save the planet. The emphasis is always on being oneself and liking yourself, and the moral of the story is that it never hurts to act like a princess, even if you are not one-and young girls cannot get enough of these sorts of positive messages. This cute book is made even cuter by the delightful illustrations. It is a quick, fun read and will be enjoyed by fans of the series. Illus. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, HarperCollins, 144p,
Read an Excerpt
Princess Lessons: A Princess Diaries Book
A Note from
Her Royal Highness Princess Mia
Real princesses always try to look their best -- but, um, my best is probably totally different from yours. There are lots of different kinds of beauty. Like those models we see on magazine covers? A lot of people might hold them up as, like, the epitome of perfection and all of that, but just remember, in France it's considered beautiful not to shave under your arms.
So you see, beauty is really relative.
Princesses, like people, come in all different shapes and sizes. There is no one look that is right for everyone. Having a healthy body is way more important than having a body that looks good in low-rise jeans. And of course being a nice person is the most important thing of all. Throughout history, princesses have been remembered not for the waist size of their 501s, but for the good deeds they performed while they were on the throne.
There's one thing that looks good on everyone, though: confidence. Have confidence in yourself and your looks, and others will see your outer beauty as well as the inner.
That's what everybody keeps telling me, anyway.
owner and proprietor of Chez Paolo, New York City
I, Paolo, am the one who turned the Principessa Amelia from Ugly Duckling into Swan. You, too, can look like a princess, if you follow Paolo's simple rules.
Beauty is molto importante, but so often overdone! A princess's look is bella, healthy, and well groomed.Fresh is the goal, and mascara, blush, and gloss are the tools that will get you there.
Everyone -- especially I, Paolo -- loves to play with makeup. But remember, a mask works only at Halloween! Do not slather on foundation or eyeshadow unless you want to scare your populace (also, your parents won't like it so much, no?). Natural and bella is the way Paolo urges all you little principessas to go. If you want the dramatic look of black kohl and scarlet lipstick, join your school drama club (I spit on kohl). And do not come crying to Paolo if all the little princes, they run from you in horror. Only if you follow Paolo's way can you be assured molto perfetto!
What every principessa should have in her handbag (besides cab fare, breath mints, emergency tiara, and hairbrush):
3 Lipstick or gloss
3 Pressed powder compact (to get rid of shiny nose)
3 Concealer (for dark circles under eyes due to that late-night romantic tryst, no? Also for blemishes)
3 Eye pencil
What every principessa should have in her bathroom (besides a phone and small television so she can keep abreast of world events even while bathing the royal body):
3Facial cleanser, exfoliator (or use a washcloth, but gently!), and moisturizer
3 Astringent, toner, acne medication, beauty masks
3 Foundation, concealer (for dark circles/blemishes)
3 Eye shadow, liner (no kohl -- Paolo spits on kohl!)
3 Blush (natural color -- unless you want to look like a clown principessa)
3 Manicure set (nail polish, nail file, nail cutter)
3 Hair products (shampoo, conditioner, styling products, etc.)
Paolo's Princess Beauty Regimen
The look for royals? Fresh and clean! To get it, follow the beauty routine I designed for the Principessa Amelia:
- Wash face morning and night with gentle cleanser. Follow with exfoliant, if needed (even royals get blackheads! No joke!), and blemish product or moisturizer.
- Wash hair with gentle shampoo once a day, or every other day. Follow with conditioner. Use a wide-toothed comb to get out tangles. No one wants to see a bald principessa!
- Hair products such as mousse or gel, used sparingly, can help control a mane gone wild or give body to thin hair. Find the product that works best for you by consulting a professional hair stylist, like me, Paolo, or by experimenting at home.
- Bathe or shower daily. Principessas are known for smelling nice, no?
- Deodorant/antiperspirant is a must! Whether you are playing croquet all day, or sitting under the hot lights of a television studio being interviewed by a famous news journalist, a principessa never lets them see her sweat -- I mean, perspire.
- Shave or wax unwanted body hair. The Principessa Amelia insists that this is a personal choice, and that women should not feel that they have to shave just to conform with "the societal mores of their culture." I, Paolo, could not disagree more strongly -- even if you are French.
- Waxing is messy and can cause rashes! It is best left to salon professionals like me, Paolo. Hair removal products like depilatories are expensive, smell bad, and don't remove all the hair. A good razor and lots of shaving cream is the way to go if you choose to be hair-free, as a principessa should be (even French ones).
And please, for Paolo, if you have hair growing from your upper lip or chin, pluck or bleach it (follow the instructions carefully on facial bleach packages). Never shave your face. No principessa should have razor burn over the lip!
- Even nervous nail biters like the Principessa Amelia can have pretty nails! Keep them neatly trimmed and polished with clear gloss (dark polish makes nails look shorter). Pushing back the cuticles also can make bitten nails look longer.
Everyone is coming to Paolo, crying like a baby: "Oh, my hair is curly! Make it straight! Principessas have the straight hair!"
Well, I, Paolo, would like to say something:
Principessas can have curly hair. Principessas can have straight hair. Principessas can have dark hair. Principessas can have blond hair. Principessas may have cornrows, extensions, crew cuts, and dreads. The key to having the hair of a true principessa is:
Princess Lessons: A Princess Diaries Book. Copyright © by Meg Cabot. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
A principessa's hair must be clean
A principessa's hair must not be in her eyes
A principessa's hair must not take more than fifteen minutes to style