Maiden & Princess
Last week, I was reading Daniel Haack's Prince & Knight to my three year old. When we reached the last page, where the two main male characters get married and live happily ever after, he asked a question. Not related to why two male characters were getting married. That was obvious: they loved each other. Instead, he wanted to know why there were white things in the air, and what exactly was confetti, and why people throw paper in the air to celebrate, and how come he didn't see any at the last wedding we attended. He didn't seem completely satisfied with my answers, which is a fair. Confetti is a bit odd when you think about it.
Prince & Knight has been in our library for over a year now and we have read it often, so two male characters falling in love is pretty commonplace for my son. Part of his developing worldview is that two men can get married, just like a man and a woman. Happily, Daniel Haack, with Isabel Galupo, have written another book that will continue to expand this worldview.
Maiden & Princess tells the story of a maiden who feels more comfortable with a sword and armor than she does in a gown. One day, her friend the prince throws a ball to find a bride (as one does in fairytales). The maiden's mother convinces her to go, acknowledging "The prince might not be right, but you could meet the one." She goes, but retreats to a balcony when others' pressure to pursue the prince becomes too much. The princess joins her and after some romantic stargazing the two fall in love.
Maiden & Princess is a sweet lesbian love story for children. It takes some common fairytale tropes and tweaks them to tell a story about true love, with the help of Becca Human's magical art. The maiden finds someone who is right for her, but crucially she doesn't have to change to do it. In the final pages of the book, she is shown back in her armour, having adventures with her new love. The book emphasizes staying true to your feelings and also to yourself, which is an important message for children. As well, their relationship is embraced and celebrated by the other characters, particularly the princess's family.
This book will be a welcome addition to my family's bookshelves. I can also see it being a valuable classroom text, potentially to add diversity to the study of fairy tales. It is a charming picture book that celebrates love and being yourself.