Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Series: Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1
Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart - and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon - and finds the family and excitement she's been looking for.
I always equate this book with The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch with art by Michael Martchenko. I put them in a special category in my head that I call unconventional princesses. Princess Cimorene enjoys doing things that princesses are not supposed to do. When her parents make plans to marry her off she follows the advice of a frog and runs away. She runs into some dragons and becomes the first ever volunteer to be a dragon’s princess. Soon she is completely messing with the system. She sends her princes to the other princesses who needs rescuing, trying to make sure that they are good matches. She uses her unusual skills to become the perfect dragon’s princess, even if she was never the princess her parents wanted her to be. When I was a kid, this was my idea of an ideal job. Cleaning, organizing, some cooking, a little magic. Cimorene becomes vital to her dragon and her intelligence leads her to become vital to all the dragons.
I love Cimorene and her intelligence and wit and improvisation. The other thing I truly love about this book and this series is the sense of humor. Very few of the characters really fit their cliche. Sometimes there is humor to make you laugh out loud but much of it is more subtle like the stone prince and the magic gone awry or Morwen’s cats. Kazul, Cimorene’s dragon, has a sense of humor especially when it comes to her princess. The whole book is filled with such wit. I really enjoyed reading it again but it is definitely one of those that is most fun the first time around when you really get the surprises. This is one of the few books that I have always been able to remember a lot of the plot line. This is also an excellent example of the fact that not all princess books are silly and girly!