The Fairly Ordinary Princess by Khushboo Shah is a refreshingly delightful fantasy tale of a “not so ordinary” princess. Imagine Grimm’s fairy tales with a splendid desi touch. Yes, that’s what you experience in this magical story.
Princess Nirzari, the daughter of modern-day Maharaja of Karoda, is unlike other princesses. For one, she loves reading books and questions stereotypical norms. She loves getting lost in books, until one day, she really gets inside one. And thus begins a magical adventure. With her best friend, Jawaab-e-Hazir, a parrot who talks in verses, Keshavdas, an old gardener who has a hole in his heart, and her long-lost grandma, Princess Nirzari wades through the various surprises and challenges that she comes across in the book world. Grandsire Dabbu, his mother, and Firky the Spider are a few of the other entertaining companions in this escapade.
A wonderful wordplay, and visual imagery make this book a memorable read. I was not just reading the words, but I was a part of this adventurous ride and experiencing the thrill along with the princess and her friends.
Despite being make-believe characters in a make-believe world, the Princess, her grandma, or even the villainous Grandsire Dabbu are sketched as three-dimensional characters. Their dreams, desires and flaws bring them closer to their readers. Middle-grade readers can identify and relate with them easily.
The princess is beautiful (not in the traditional definition), smart and kind. She challenges patriarchy and norms in a subtle yet confident manner. Grandma is a spirited character and truly stands out. I loved Firky’s political incorrectness and her steadfastness in giving others a reality check.
Apart from their character sketch, their Indian names are equally charming, fun, and appropriate for the setting.
The vocabulary is just perfect for young readers. It is neither too simple nor too complex. The pace and tone enhance the reading pleasure. I enjoyed the wonderful verses and witty one-liners.
Khushboo is not just a master storyteller, she is a brilliant artist as well. She has illustrated the book and the illustrations are just magnificent. I spent so much time admiring the intricate drawings. They truly capture the essence of this fantastical joyride.
Like most children’s stories, this too comes with important pearls of wisdom. The takeaways are delivered in a simple and unpretentious manner.
I would have loved to see Indian snacks making an appearance instead of hamburger and fries.
I feel children in the early reading stages might need help meandering through the length of the novel. It’s a bit too long and there’s too much going on. There are too many things going on, especially towards the end. Though every adventure is a delight, I felt a few could have been shortened.
This book would make a wonderful read-out-loud resource.
Sharing a few lines, I absolutely loved –
It is never about stating facts, my child. It is the tone. And ordinary is a relative term.
When you don’t find an answer outside, you must look within.
Let me spin my web, little boy, a thread at a time. Agoolam bagoolam pikad bikad lyme!
Not just kids, but even adults are going to fall in love with the delightful The Fairly Ordinary Princess and enjoy this fantastical journey. I hope Khushboo plans to make this a series.
I have this weird quirk of reading every book from end-to-end, right from the copyright page, table of contents, foreword, acknowledgement and about the author page too. I was in for a surprise when I read the acknowledgment page. Khushboo, you are quite magnanimous in your appreciation. I have hardly played a role in your writing journey, and yet, to know it has made a difference brought happy tears to my eyes. Regardless, my review is unbiased.
Wordsopedia Rating 4.6/5
|Title: The Fairly Ordinary Princess||Author: Khushboo Shah|
|Publisher: Kindle||Publication date: 9 October 2022|
|Genre: Fiction–Middle Grade||Format: Kindle|
|ASIN: B0BHS88Q1G||No. of Pages: 113|
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About the author
Khushboo Shah is an ophthalmologist by profession, with a passion for storytelling. Much as she tries to keep the doctor and the writer in her separate, she ends up reading stories in the eyes she examines and treating patients with generous doses of anecdotes. Both her prose and poetry typically have a sprinkling of humour and introspection.
While she has several anthologies to her credit, this book is her debut as a solo author. She lives in Vadodara, Gujarat, with her daughter, her poems, and her puns for company.
She is a published co-author of many anthologies.
Get in touch with the author on Twitter @khushkhushboo5