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4.8 out of 5 stars
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2003
No matter what she does, Princess Amy (christened Amethyst) cannot be as perfect as her six older sisters, each one more perfect than then next. This is because at her christening, a disgruntled fairy cursed her with being Ordinary.
So when her parents resort to dragons and rewards in their attempt to get this very ordinary girl married off, she runs away to the forest to be friends with the woodland creatures who accept her for who she is.
And she finds that being ordinary is not such a curse after all - I don't want to give away how!
What I loved about this book was all the descriptions - all the jewels and velvets of court life, the banquets, the woodland creatures and comforts. And they are a delightful foil for the ordinariness (yes I know it's not a word) of Amy - she comes across as even more real and down-to-earth because of her fairytale surroundings.
There are plenty of ridiculous characters for humour too, in case you think this is a bit worthy.
This book is a beautiful fairy story for those who've outgrown the traditional ones - and I still enjoy reading it!
Definitely five stars!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2004
When I was a child, this was one of my favourite books and having reread it recently with my young nephew, I can remember why. It's almost PC the way Princess Amy can't abide by her parents wishes to be locked up in some tower while Dad hires out for a dragon and perhaps a Prince to come and slay the beast. Why any girl in her position seems to have no choice except to run away. And so the Princess does. She escapes into the forest and is quite happy there with her various woodland friends. That is until the practicalities of her wardrobe and some very sensible advice from her fairy godmother mean that she needs to seek out some form of gainful employment. So she ends up working as a kitchenmaid and she does meet a Prince, eventually. I fell in love with this book all over again! There is a lesson in this book somewhere, possibly more than one but it escapes me at the moment. I just find it a very enjoyable read, even now. Princess Amy is most certainly a patch above the rest and as you'll soon discover, there is nothing ordinary about her perserverence in the face of a typical fairytale ending.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2002
I was given this book when I was about 9 and was immediately captivated by its charm and humour. It tells the story of Princess Amethyst whose christening is marred by the arrival of a bad tempered fairy (late because she was held up in traffic) who gives the gift of ordinariness. I bought it for my god daughter this Christmas and had to re-read it (I don't know how but my copy was mislaid) and was taken back to how marvellous this charming tale is.
I would heartily recommend this to anyone who wants to get a book full of true humour and, sounds daft, but sunshine. This is a wonderful fairy story and I must say that reading it as an adult has reconfirmed my love of it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2002
I remember being captivated by this book as a child - the down to earth Princess Amy seemed so much more like me than any other fairytale princess I'd ever read about. With her no nonsense manner and her tomboyish hobbies, she quickly became my heroine.
A funny, wry book which still has the magic of a fairytale.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2002
After reading an article in the TES, I have just come online to see if it's really true...that after too many long years of waiting, The Ordinary Princess has finally been reprinted. Whooo hoooo!
Every page in this book is filled with memories of my childhood - how many other little girls make believe they're an ordinary princess too, especially when they have a wood to run through behind their house, just like Amy.
My well-read and battered copy can now have a well deserved rest as I place an order for my new copy. I'll also be ordering a copy for my children. If there are any females in your family, young or old, make this a magical Christmas and get them a copy - much better than fluffy slippers :- )
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2008
I still have my old Puffin copy of this, but had to buy the Jane Nissen reprint as it contains M. M. Kaye's own charming illustrations. The story has stayed with me throughout my life so far, and never grows old. Buy this for any little girl, or grown woman, who has yet to read it. She will thank you all her life!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2001
I remember receiving this as a "holiday book" (i.e. to keep me quiet while on holiday) when I was about nine. I must have read and re-read it about eight times during those two weeks, and it wasn't the only book I had with me!
I loved the way Amy was so unconventional - perhaps it made it easy for me to pretend to be a princess just like her. Amy has many exciting adventures while her elder sisters are obliged to be quiet and stately within the castle, only venturing outdoors if they were sheltered from the sun.
I remember the story to be both funny and charming and would thoroughly recommend it as a present for any young (or at least young at heart) girl!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 1998
I've fallen in love with this book and I think you will too. First read when I was ten, I still sneak a look every now and again at aged 24! It's evocative in every sense; I'm running along with Amy, past the woodland animals, cheeks rosy from the fresh air, soft green moss under my bare feet. And I can even smell old seaweedy Fairy Crustacea. Each page brings happy memories of my childhood and never fails to be anything other than uplifting when read over and over again. I certainly recommend buying this book, if not for the children in your life, then for yourself.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 November 2013
This was the first novel I ever bought with my own pocket money (aged eight), I read and re-read it to pieces, and now I'm reading it in instalments at bedtime to my six-year-old daughter. She is soaking in every word, and doesn't want me to stop.

Set in the fictional kingdom of Phantasmorania, a royal family tries inviting fairies to the christening of their beautiful seventh baby daughter, only for one bad-tempered fairy to get caught in a traffic jam and crossly give the child the gift of Ordinariness. Princess Amy is not worried about this as she grows up, but once she is of marriageable age it creates a major diplomatic issue. The king decides to hire a dragon, and lock her away in a tower to be rescued by an over-excited prince. Amy thinks this is nonsense. So she runs away.....

It is beautifully written, it contains a lot of gentle mickey-taking humour that knocks the current crop of plastic Disney princesses out of the water, and this new edition contains an introduction from M. M. Kaye on how she came to write the book (after a binge-read of Andrew Lang fairy tales, apparently), and M. M. Kaye's original pencil-sketch illustrations, which are different to the ones in my childhood edition, and are absolutely lovely.

Reading age 8+ years.
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on 20 October 2000
Amy's older sisters are all perfect proper princesses, happy keeping their golden hair neat and their hands clean while waiting to marry perfect prim princes. But Amy is a very ordinary girl, hates embroidering, and wishes for a prince with a sense of humour. When her despairing parents plan to find a dragon for her to be rescued from (someone will have to take her hand in marriage then!) she runs away, and lives happily in the forest until her clothes start wearing out, and she realises that she will have to earn some money! She finds a job as a scullerymaid in the palace of the next kingdom over, and meets a young servant with a nice laugh. But is he really a servant? This is very funny, well-written- the descriptions of a princess's day, life in the forest and how grim a kitchenmaid's life are are wonderful!- and a lovely story, with a marvellous main character. I recommend it highly. I only wish it were out as a book, rather than just a tape.
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