- Author – Holly Ryan
- Illustrator – Sian Roberts
- Publishers – Little Tiger
- Publication Date – 5th August 2021
- RRP – £6.99 (pb)
- Reader Age – 3-6 Years
Rhyming verse gives this story, of an incredibly brave young girl, a pace to match her adventure.
Taking her favourite teddy bear everywhere she goes – even to the loo! the young princess wakes from taking a nap to find her bear has disappeared. Searching high and low does not reunite the two together, so the princess takes up the offer of help from a brave knight, who denies her the opportunity to go with him on the quest to find her precious bear when she asks.
The knight tells the princess she is ‘FAR too small’, but it doesn’t stop her from setting off on her own quest to recover her teddy, using her frustration at the knight’s comment to fuel her efforts. It is the princess who discovers her bear had been stolen by pirates, having searched through a woods, glade, and beach – and all upon a goat!
The pirates have been taking teddies from many other children too, and have filled a chest full of them. The pirates explain they are so soft and cute, and they cannot help themselves. Through her unwavering bravery and determination the princess not only rescues her own teddy, but she also succeeds in making the pirates see that what they do is wrong, and the bears they have accumulated are returned to their owners too. So many children will be happier because of the princess’ actions. It is fantastic that she not only teaches the pirates that their actions are wrong, but she maintains contact with them, and can often be found adventuring with them, and finding treasure along the way.
This princess refuses to be seen as a delicate female that cannot possibly be brave, and is too young to take part in adventures, and through her perseverance and bravery she proves to everyone that she is far braver than the knight, and capable of having successful voyages of her own, all of which makes her a brilliant role model for readers, particularly young girls who like to have the same adventures and role play experiences as those stereotypically seen as for boys.
The illustrations within the book are bold, colourful, and brim full of detail, ensuring younger children are able to follow and envisage the story as it develops. They draw your eye across the entire page as you notice more and more illustrative content whilst you follow the princess on her journey. The pictures portray the energy and movement of the characters and story perfectly, and gives readers an understanding of the distance the princess travels and the obstacles she overcomes. Readers will be smiling throughout, with laugh out loud moments to enjoy as they follow the story, and look to find out if the princess is reunited with her precious bear.
Never Mess with a Pirate Princess is such a fun story to share with young readers, both at home and in school, and I will definitely be reading this title to classes in my school library. I can see how it will empower little girls, and subsequently lead to lots of role play out on the playground amongst girls and boys alike. The sentences rhyming throughout add to the fun, and will definitely make this a popular choice over and over again amongst children of all ages.