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The Princess Knight (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards)) (edition 2004)

by Cornelia Funke

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270None42,140 (4)5
Member:Marensr
Title:The Princess Knight (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards))
Authors:Cornelia Funke
Info:The Chicken House (2004), Hardcover, 32 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Children's Literature, Read

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The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke

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» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Very cute story. ( )
  nicdar111 | Jun 19, 2013 |
The story of a plucky girl who grows to overcome gender roles and achieve the life that she always wanted is simple and enjoyable. The illustrations are playfully simple as well. ( )
  matthewbloome | May 19, 2013 |
Cornelia Funke, the German children's author whose fantasy novels, from The Thief Lord to Inkheart, are so beloved, has also produced a number of picture-books, amongst them this sweet fractured fairy-tale, originally published as Der geheimnisvolle Ritter Namenlos (literally translated as "The Mysterious Rider, Nameless"). Raised to pursue all the past-times of her brothers, Princess Violetta - the youngest child and only daughter of King Wilfred - perseveres despite her smaller size, and becomes an accomplished equestrian, sword-fighter and jouster. When her father announces, the day before her sixteenth birthday, that her hand in marriage will be given to the winner of a tournament, the spirited young princess decides that there is only one thing to do...

An entertaining tale with a wonderful can-do attitude, The Princess Knight manages to convey the idea that girls are just as capable as boys - sadly, a message that is still needed in our society - without descending into any kind of overt didacticism, or demonizing the masculine. I liked the fact that King Wilfred is a little clueless, and a LOT insensitive, when it comes to setting up the tournament, but accepts Violetta's decision, in the end, and still loves her. I also liked that Violetta's brothers tease her as a girl, but are also sympathetic (the scene where her brother tries to comfort her, in her tower room, is so sweet!) to her desires. All in all, a charming tale, and a nice contrast to those fairy-tales which feature princesses who are rescued, or won by the hero. Not necessarily a replacement for these more traditional tales, but a lovely accompaniment - another choice to add the shelf! How fitting, as choice is what it's all about... ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 22, 2013 |
Originally published in German as Der geheimnisvolle Ritter Namenlos (which can be roughly translated as the mysterious knight no-name), Cornelia Funke's clever tale of a little princess, who, after the death of her mother, is taught by her father the same lessons and knightly pursuits he is teaching his sons, is both entertaining and empowering (and a great story for all children, not just little girls). Violetta is smaller than her brothers, and of course, like many younger siblings, she receives her share of teasing, although it never gets out of hand. The brothers are just acting like typical brothers, they are not maliciously cruel, not the type of villainous siblings so often encountered in traditional folk and fairy tales. Violetta soon realises that the manner in which her brothers are being taught their knightly skills just does not suit her, and so decides to learn these skills on her own (in secret), using her own (successful) strategies. While her brothers become tall and strong, Violetta (although small and slight) becomes supremely nimble and quick; due to her gentle nature and manner, her father's horses love carrying her on their backs.

However, King Wilfred finally realises that Violetta is not one of his knights, but a marriageable princess, and thus decides to hold a jousting tournament for his daughter's hand in marriage (something that Violetta definitely does NOT desire). I did not like the fact that the king shut his daughter in the tower when she rebelled against his wishes (and I appreciate that her youngest brother offered to win the tournament to prevent her marriage). I would, however, say that while King Wilfred is rather clueless and insensitive, he does finally accept his daughter's decision and clearly loves her dearly. When Violetta returns after a year and a day, the king gives her a horse as black as her armour, and she is allowed marry whom she desires.

I have, unfortunately, not had the opportunity to read the original German version of this tale (something I hope to remedy sooner rather than later). Thus, I cannot say all that much about Anthea Bell's translation (how true it is to the original, for example). But as far as the narrative is concerned, I think that it flows well, is engaging, and also does not feel like a "translation" (it reads and feels like an original, well-written text, something that I find both desirable and important in translated works, especially works of fiction).

There is only one aspect of The Princess Knight that I consider a bit problematic, and that is the title. I believe that the English title gives away a bit too much of the mystery, and I think a title closer to Cornelia Funke's original German title (perhaps something like The Mysterious Knight or The Mysterious Anonymous Knight), might have been a slightly better choice, but that is a minor, and likely also very personal quibble.

At first, I did not really enjoy Kerstin Meyer's illustrations. I was intrigued by the fact that she had supposedly used the famous Bayeux Tapestry as inspiration, but as I have never found the former all that esthetically pleasing, I had a similar first reaction to Kerstin Meyer's illustrations. On reflection though, I do think that the illustrations are, in fact, a perfect complement to the text, to the entire theme of the story. They capture the Mediaeval feel of the knightly pursuits and lessons, the jousting tournaments. While by themselves, Kerstin Meyer's illustrations would definitely not be a personal favourite, in combination with the narrative, they become magical and fun, while also giving an air of historical authenticity to the text. ( )
  gundulabaehre | Mar 31, 2013 |
Violetta is a princess but her mother dies and her father has no idea how to raise a princess, so he teaches her how to fight like her 3 brothers. ( )
  McEvilla | Nov 19, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0439536308, Hardcover)

Cornelia Funke, author of the bestselling Thief Lord, tells a short, sweet story about a brave little princess with a mind of her own.

King Wilfred's three sons learn to become big, bad knights the way any boisterous boys would: "They learned riding and jousting, fighting with swords...They learned how to stride proudly and how to shout very loudly." At her father's urging, young Princess Violetta tries to keep up with the same lessons, "even though she was so small she could hardly lift a sword at all!" Despite her brothers' teasing and laughing, Violetta continues to practice--even secretly at night. Soon enough, Violetta becomes "so nimble and quick" that when practicing with her brothers, "their spears and swords just hit the empty air." But then King Wilfred does the unthinkable: For his Violetta's sixteenth birthday, he plans a jousting tournament designed to bring "the bravest knights in the land flocking to the castle" to win…her hand in marriage! Violetta is outraged: "You want me to marry some dimwit in a tin suit?" Fortunately, of course, the princess finds a way to come to her own rescue.

Funke does well in this picturebook format, but Kerstin Meyer's delicate and extremely cute illustrations set the quiet, measured (but still fun) tone of the Princess Knight, as she takes inspiration from a bona fide medieval piece of art--the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:41 -0400)

Violetta is a little princess who is determined to be as big and strong as her brothers. She secretly teaches herself to become the cleverest, bravest, most nimble knight in the land.

(summary from another edition)

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