Princess Ben - Catherine Gilbert Murdock Aw, this book was super cute. My favorite part was the way it blends different fairy tales. The main narrative has elements of Sleeping Beauty, but along the way many others make appearances--but always with some kind of twist. Many of them are even gender-switched, and it's like Murdock KNEW that gender-switched fairy tales are my absolute favorite thing and wrote this book just to make me happy.

This book also contains a lot of positive messages for young girls. The heroine is smart, resourceful and hilarious. She's no damsel in distress--when she gets in trouble, she saves herself. However, I'm not sure how I feel about the narrative about her weight. For most of the book she eats with great gusto, and she's fat, and this isn't presented as a bad thing, which I love. But after she goes through some hardships and loses some weight, she realizes that she was eating for emotional reasons rather than physical hunger, and she keeps her new figure. It's emphasized that she is NOT skinny, just not AS fat as she was. Still, the implication is that fat people are fat because they eat to fill a psychological need. Which is certainly true for some people, fat OR thin, but it's not The Reason fat people are fat. Some people eat small portions and are still fat. Some people eat a whole lot and are thin.

I do, however, like that she ultimately comes away with the message that focusing on looks at all is shallow and petty. When everyone is exclaiming over her new figure, rather than loving it, she's annoyed by it. Afterwards when she sees people gossiping about someone's looks or weight, she tries to remind them that the person they're talking about is a person, with many qualities that matter more than appearance. Still, I'd like to see a book where the heroine is fat at the beginning and STAYS fat and that's OK.