Saturday, October 31, 2009

Share-A-Book Saturday (9)

This is something I found over on Just Another Book Addict =), and I thought I'd do my own. There are so many great books out there that get overlooked (especially if they've been out for a while)!

Every Saturday, you share (recommend) a book, preferably one that you haven't reviewed yet. It's just a way to get other books out into the blogging world. This is NOT a review.

Today I'm going to recommend The Light Princess by George MacDonald.

The fact that George MacDonald--a scholar as well as a preacher and writer--once read this fairy tale to his students instead of giving them a lecture says volumes about the man and his beliefs. It also says much about his faith in the power of stories. The Light Princess is a simple enough tale, clearly written for children--a princess at her christening is cursed by a wicked witch with lightness (she floats blissfully about the castle all day long, and gets into all sorts of adventures, as one can easily imagine)--yet it holds a powerful spiritual truth. Gravity, weight, sorrow, suffering--all of this the princess misses, but with all of these she misses love, for what is love without weight, without body? What is love without falling? She discovers this truth, of course, only at the last minute when a faithful prince loves her enough to die for her.

Sometimes it's not a ponderous lecture--or sermon--that we need in order to experience what incarnation is about. ( review by Doug Thorpe.)

Though not as old as some other fairy tales, this has to be one of my favourites. It was first published in 1864... but the story is as timeless as any other fairy tale. The princess in the title is indeed "light". After being cursed by her pissed-off aunt, she has no gravity... either literally or figuratively. She floats about the castle and doesn't take anything seriously. The cast of characters includes the king and queen, kind parents who are confounded by their daughter's condition; the aunt, a havoc-wreaking villain with a nearly unpronounceable name; and a prince from a neighbouring kingdom who is in search of a wife. Unlike many princes in fairy tales, this one isn't just a pretty-faced Prince Charming with little or no qualities of note. When was the last time, after all, that Prince Charming was actually willing to sacrifice his own royal neck for the sake of others?

It seems that there are a few editions of The Light Princess in circulation, and the quality varies. If you can get your hands on the Maurice Sendak-illustrated version, so much the better; the reviews on that edition seem to be quite good.


  1. I would recommend The Septimus Heap Series by Angie Sage in general. Those books are great!

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