Princess Smack-Down in Vegas


Kirsten Cappy of Curious City with authors Jennifer Ziegler, Susan Lynn Meyer and Ammi-Joan Paquette.

A bookish discussion in the middle of the bombast of Las Vegas?  Could that happen?  Why, yes.

Through the magic of the The Vegas Valley Book Festival (and the grand leadership of Brian Kendall), twelve Curious City and Erin Murphy Literary Agency clients met with 30 classrooms of readers and participated in 8 panels discussions about story and KidLit.

Curious City moderated a  panel with children’s authors Ammi-Joan Paquette, Susan Lynn Meyer and Jennifer Ziegler.  Together we discussed “Princesses in Another Guise” or the new mighty girls of middle grade.  We defined mighty girls thanks to A Mighty Girl as…

“Girls do not have to be relegated to the role of sidekick or damsel in distress; they can be the leaders, the heroes, the champions that save the day, find the cure, and go on the adventure.”  —A Mighty Girl

Princesses stories in the Western World have held sway since the Brothers Grimm  first recorded the European tales.  One need only note the media and merchandise power of the Disney Princesses.  In 2012 the Disney Princess franchise earned a whopping $3 billion in global sales making them the number one brand for best-selling entertainment products.

While the films Brave and Frozen have greatly evolved the personalities of the Disney Princesses, the stories show girls that are powerful because they are kind and because they are pretty.We are all for kindness (and who doesn’t like a ball gown now and then), but real girls are MUCH more interesting as witnessed by the girls depicted in the six books we featured.

In the final moments of our panel, I presented our panelists with a surprise princess smack-down challenge.

Recast a Disney Princess classic with the characters from your book.

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Ammi-Joan Paquette contended that Princess Juniper, the mighty protagonist of Princess Juniper of the Hourglass would have been far more organized than Aurora’s silly parents.  Juniper would have systematically searched the castle for any “rogue spindles” making the tragic pricking an impossibility.  It seems any witch can be beat by the means of a good to do list.  It also appears that Ammi-Joan Paquette has happened upon the best name *ever* for an all-girl punk band— The Rogue Spindles.

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Susan Lynn Meyer scoffed at the impracticality of Cinderella’s glass slipper and the girl cat fight that ensued over said slipper’s status.  In Meyer’s version, Ella Mae and Charlotte, the entrepreneurial heroines of New Shoes, would have convinced the step sisters to go into business with them opening a line of show stores across fairyland.  The shoes they would sell would be much more practical for a mighty girl on an adventure.  No more tripping on the steps and losing a shoe while fleeing curfew…


Jennifer Ziegler declared that the Brewster Triplets from the books from Revenge of the Flower Girls and Revenge of the Angels would (appropriately) have three solutions for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

  1. Unionize the Dwarfs!  That “hi ho, hi ho, its off to work we go” better come with paid overtime and paternal leave.
  2. Send Snow White to College!  Snow needs to understand that there are more career options open to her than keeping house for seven wee grumpy men.
  3. Keep Prince Charming from Kissing Sleeping Girls! Clearly, Mr. Charming has got the wrong idea about what is charming and what is harassment.  Get the girl a pillow not a kiss, pretty boy.

Thank you The Vegas Valley Book Festival.  It turns out that bombast and books DO go together.