Last weekend Mariam's school hosted a storytelling night, where author Rafe Martin came to tell stories to the students and their parents in a renovated old barn. He told a series of stories, a bit of something to suit everyone in his audience, and among them was the tale of a princess lost at sea who finds her destiny, somewhat in spite of herself.
The story that he told happens to be one that Martin has also published in book form, under the title The Storytelling Princess, and it is a delightful and clever turn on the average fairy tale. We have the requisite prince and princess, strangers who are engaged to be married by their well-meaning but somewhat clueless royal parents. They both attempt to refuse their intended mates, but when the princess is washed out to sea en route to the meet the prince and his family in their far away kingdom, she finds herself needing to survive by her wits and happening upon the prince in an unexpected way. We do get our "happily ever after" but the fact that it comes only after some unique plot twists makes it feel like a much different ending than those of its fairy tale predecessors.
One of the great things about this story is the fact that it is indeed a story; it can be well told without the pictures, without needing the text in hand. It makes an exceptionally good read aloud, and lends itself well to reading with expression, humor and even a bit of improvisation. As my daughter becomes more and more able to read quietly to herself, I sometimes find that there is nothing quite like a book that was meant to be shared out loud together.