Doughty examines contemporary children’s and young adult (YA) literature featuring royal characters through a folkloric lens and shows different ways authors transform the traditional royal characters from folktales and Disney films. She shows how princes and princesses are more progressive than their predecessors through expanding gender roles. She also demonstrates how different types of abdication work to transform readers’ expectations of royals and how they reach a happy ending different from traditional folktales and Disney. Finally, employing Rudine Sims Bishop’s ideas about mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors, she explores how queer royals and royals of color offer new mirrors for children and young adults. Each chapter presents a typology of royal books related to the topic and explains how they work to transform the folktale tradition. Doughty concludes with a discussion of the transformational gaps remaining in royal children’s and YA literature.
Amie A. Doughty is professor of English at the State University of New York, Oneonta.
Chapter 1: Fan Studies, Folktales, and the Adaptation of Royal Characters
Chapter 2: Progressive (and Not-so-Progressive) Princesses
Chapter 3: Progressive (and Not-so-Progressive) Princes
Chapter 4: Rejecting the Crown
Chapter 5: Queering the Crown
Chapter 6: Royals of Color
Doughty offers readers an expansive look at how royal characters are depicted in children’s literature. Her categorization of these characters and their narratives as transformative, affirmative, or both sheds light on the fascinating complexity inherent in the genre.
Amie A. Doughty’s book is a thorough and absorbing treatment of royalty in children’s and young adult fiction, exploring the ways in which 21st century authors have adapted the princess and prince motif to include progressive (and sometimes regressive) royalty, royals who reject the crown, LGBTQ princesses and princes, and royalty of color. Anyone interested in discovering what contemporary children’s and YA authors are doing to enhance, subvert, and queer tropes like happily ever after will delight in this book. Especially interesting is the thoughtful and critically informed approach Doughty takes toward revision, adaptation, and fan fiction. Doughty’s book brings new life into tried-and-true (and sometimes tired) images of princes waking sleeping beauties and teenaged girls transformed into royal brides.
Young people have long been fascinated by tales of royalty, and as Amie A. Doughty argues in her new book, the trend shows no sign of abating in the twenty-first century. However, the princesses and princes once popularized in folklore and Disney's classic films are changing. Doughty has uncovered a wide range of transformative texts that question traditional representations and provide new ways of seeing. Her book challenges stereotypes, affirming those characters who reject the crown or subvert traditional power structures. With her insightful analysis of royals who are progressive, queer, or of color, Doughty showcases controversies inherent not only in contemporary children’s literature and popular media but in the culture itself. This book is a welcome read for anyone interested in positive, innovative messages and images that can shape youths’ lives.
Royalty in Twenty-First Century Children’s and Young Adult Literature: Reshaping the Folktale and Disney Tradition is an engaging book that looks in depth at what it means to be royal and expands the definition of princess. Amie A. Doughty provides a wide range of tales within children’s and YA literature to explore how the character of the princess (and prince) has transformed to gain more agency and diversity with the last few decades. A must read for princess enthusiasts.