Monday, April 28, 2014

"The Princess Fables" by Marc Clark

The Princess Fables
by Marc Clark

The Princess Fables by Marc Clark is a fabulous collection of stories suitable for children (especially girls) ages 5 and up. You can read my review and enter the giveaway below. This book blast is brought to you by Mother Daughter Book Promotion Services.

The origins of The Princess Fables: When the author's daughter was just beginning the first grade, she was not happy about school. So when he would wake her each morning, whatever she would say to get out of going became the subject for a Princess Fable. If she'd say, "I don't want to," he'd make up a tale about The Princess Who Always Said, "I Don't Wanna". If she pulled the covers over her head, he'd tell her the story of The Princess Who Hid Under the Covers. By the end of each Fable he'd have her dressed and ready for school, with her eyes wide open and full of hope...
The Princess Fables are eleven inspirational stories for young girls who may still dream of being a Princess. Each Princess embarks on an adventure of self discovery and along the way, learns about the importance of trust, devotion, courage and the power of love. These classic tales transport little girls to a time and place where they are the heroines and can create their own happy endings.
Every delicate pen and ink illustration by Eric Hosford reflects the classic fairy tale drawings of the late 19th century.
The Princess Fables was recently awarded an Honorable Mention at the 2014 Los Angeles Book Festival.

The Princess Who Always Said, "Not Today"

Years and years and years ago, in a distant kingdom far up into the mountains there was born a little raven-haired princess with warm brown kin and dark almond eyes. Her name was Marina.
I don’t know how the King and Queen could have told what kind of young girl she was going to be, but they got her name exactly right. Marina always dreamed of crossing the seas to distant lands – even as a little girl.
The only stories she would ever listen to were about the sea. The only history she wanted to learn was about the sea. She would beg to be taken to the river, and then sit there for hours, imagining it winding its way down the mountains into the sea. She drew pictures of ships sailing and fish swimming. The King and Queen even had their workers dig a pond on the castle grounds so she could keep her very own fish in it.
The only problem (and it wasn’t really a big problem right away) was that the Princess wouldn’t have much to do with anything that didn’t involve water or the sea or boats, so she’d try to get out of all other things, or at least put them off.
She would say, “Oooh, not today. I’ll do it tomorrow.” Because she’d learned at a very young age - and she was a really smart little girl when she wanted to be: she knew how to set the sails of a boat, steer it, fix fishing nets; she learned how the winds blew and currents flowed and how to read a compass and steer by the stars at night. She was very sharp - so she’d figured out that if you put something off, a lot of times, people forget about it. Or they would just get tired of asking.
It didn’t really seem like a big deal that Marina didn’t learn how to sing (“Oh, not today. Let’s set up a lesson for next week.”) or sew pretty things (just sails for ships), how do dance (“Not today, my ankle hurts.”) or ride a horse (“Not today, I think it’s going to rain.”) or a dozen other things that a Princess is supposed to learn.
It did become a big deal when she got to be a teenager and the King and Queen started to notice how the Knights and Princes who came from other lands didn’t pay any attention to Marina at all. As her older sisters found love, got married and went off to live with their husbands, Marina was left behind, still dreaming of the sea.
Her parents didn’t know what to do with Marina.
And Marina didn’t know if she would ever reach the sea.
One day all of that changed. A young Prince arrived at the castle. He was like no one Marina had ever seen: his hair was long and braided in places and seemed almost wind-swept, his skin was darkened by the sun and his eyes burned bright blue. When Marina first looked into his eyes she thought she saw the ocean in them and fell suddenly, instantly in love.
The King threw a banquet for the Prince. Marina was so excited about talking to him she could barely breathe.
She listened to him tell tales of every waking moment aboard one ship or another traveling to exotic lands, the storms and tempests he weathered and the endless blue skies and starry nights. The Princess almost threw herself at him, shouting, "Take me with you, I'm yours forever!" But she held on.
The Prince, for his part, was mesmerized by her beauty and awestruck by this land-locked girl who could know so much about ships and the sea. They felt they had known each other all of their lives. It was as if she had been traveling with him on the seas, if only in spirit.
So the Prince was really confused when, after dinner, he asked the Princess to sing one of her favorite songs and she said, “Not today, perhaps tomorrow.”
He didn't know that she had never taken the time to learn to sing.
And later, when he asked her to dance, her heart sank when she had to tell him, "Not today. Perhaps tomorrow."
It was so sad to watch two people, obviously so much in love, fall farther and farther apart. It was sadder still to see the Prince (who was sure by now that the feelings he had for the Princess were not returned) summon up the courage to try one more time and ask Marina if perhaps they could go for a ride in the morning and she could show him some of this lovely kingdom of hers.
The Princess couldn't even answer. She burst into tears and ran out of the banquet hall and all the way to her bedchamber. She bolted her bedroom door behind her and would not be comforted by anyone, not even the Queen.
The next morning, even before the sun was up, the Princess was out of bed, determined to make things right. She would not give up on everything she’d ever dreamt of. As she fixed her face and hair she decided to find the Prince and explain to him how foolish she'd been not to tell him that she had never learned to sing, or dance, or ride.
But it was too late. The Prince had been so heartbroken that he couldn't stay in the castle another night. He had gone shortly after Marina ran off to her room.
The news hit Marina as if someone had punched her in the stomach. She had never before felt such pain. All of the air was ripped out of her at once and everything started to spin. As she started to fall, she thought, “Oh, this is what fainting feels li…” and everything went black.
She didn’t know where she was when she finally came to. She felt herself moving. She looked up and saw the King’s face above her. He was carrying her in his arms.
She told him, “Father, I have to-“
He cut her off, saying, “We’re going to find him.” Marina looked at her father as if she had never known him. She probably hadn’t. “You’re going to have to ride a horse, though,” he continued, looking down at her, “and it’s going to hurt.”
It did. The first day on a horse the Princess thought her legs and back and… “you-know-what” would never stop hurting. She was bounced and bruised. She was also amazed that they actually followed the stream down the mountain from the castle just as she imagined. And though she was in constant pain, she smiled because she was finally heading for the sea.
The second day was a bit easier on Marina’s behind.
By the third day she rode more capably in spite of the bruises. The stream they had been following had now become a river and up over a hill, below them, Marina saw the sea for the very first time. Her heart rose in her throat.
Then she saw in the distance a ship leaving the dock and her heart sank, because she knew the Prince was on it.
“We’re not done yet,” she heard her father say as he galloped past her.
The ship was half way out of the bay by the time the King and Marina arrived at the docks. He ordered his men to commandeer a small boat. He and the Princess climbed aboard. “Get her ready to sail. We’re going to have to move fast,” he said to her as he started raising the sails.
She stared at him. “You’re going to have to hurry if we’re going to catch him,” he yelled. Then, “Where do you think you got it from, your love of the sea? My Marina?”
She smiled and cried and together they got the little sailboat ready and out of the slip. They caught the Prince’s ship just before it reached the open sea.
“You be safe, daughter, and come home to us soon.”
“I will, father,” she said and hugged him tight.
“I charge you, Captain, with the safety of my daughter,” the King yelled up as his daughter was brought on board the ship, “or I’ll have your head!”
“Aye, Your Majesty,” the Captain said.
That’s when the Prince came up from below to see why the ship had stopped.
When they saw each other, the Prince and Princess drew the same breath. They wanted to declare their love for each other immediately, hold each other and never let go.
Instead, the Prince simply held out his hand. She took it and he led her to the bow of the ship. There, Marina took in the beauty of the wide, open sea for the first time. She closed her eyes and tasted the salt air as the Prince leaned in and kissed her.
Six months later, as Marina promised her father, she and the Prince returned to the castle, and were married.
It was almost a certainty that they would live happily ever after. How could you not be happy doing what you love, in the place you love with the one you love?
Every once in awhile, out on the open sea, the Prince would ask Marina if she wanted to go back home. And you know what she said to him… don’t you?

The Buzz
In a recent review by the "The Princess Fables is a book that brings back the nostalgia of the classic fairytales from our youth and is highly recommended for young children." ~ Trey Seal, Island Waves publication
"Marvelously original, soulful, and witty tales! Modern fables with funny and moving twists. I hope these stories make their way to kids everywhere!" ~ Amazon Review
"What a beautifully illustrated and well-written book." ~ Amazon Review
"A charming and witty read, with stunning illustrations. The Princess is adorable and the book conveys a very positive image for little girls." ~ Amazon Review
"Great read for the little princess in us all!" ~ Amazon Review
"Stories that are both entertaining for children and parents." ~ Larry Dechant, journalist

This book is a wonderful compilation of eleven short stories that bring to mind my favorite fairytales from my childhood. (I was an avid fairytale reader.) They each have a common theme of a spoiled princess who learns a lesson and becomes a better person, a girl of whom her parents (the King and Queen) can be proud. Each story is beautifully complemented by a black and white drawing by Eric Hosford.
The author has a lovely conversational tone, and you feel like he is telling the stories directly to you. So, reading this book out loud will make it sound like you are personally telling the stories to your children. I did notice that a few of the young ladies in question only learned their lessons after coming to physical harm. Nevertheless, the stories are told with lightness and humor, and I think the author had great fun making these spoiled brats suffer!
There are a few minor editing errors, but the author more than makes up for these by introducing a few new words (e.g. "aghast") to our vocabulary by cleverly weaving their definitions into the stories.
I absolutely loved this book and wish my girls were still young enough for me to read it to them. This is a great collection for your little princess.

About the Author
Marc Clark is the author of several plays and screenplays, a writer and producer of commercials, promos and television content. Marc is the father of two and currently resides in Manhattan. His first book, The Princess Fables was awarded an Honorary Mention at the 2014 Los Angeles Book Festival.

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