The Princesss motif sells. If you're the mother of a young girl you already know that. Little girls everywhere long to be princesses, because princesses are beautiful and special. Occasionally, that motif has found itself in Christian circles, and I have had occasion to witness it employed in a not entirely useful way. I was curious to read Catherine Mackenzie's book How to Be a Bible Princess. I know Christian Focus publishes good books, so I wanted to hear what she had to say about princesses.
The book is published under Christian Focus's CK4K imprint and is suitable for girls 8-12 years of age. The book begins by discussing what a true princesses is, and what is the true "royal family," the family of God. Right away, Mackenzie establishes with her young readers the truth that the best "princess" designation is the one that identifies them as a child of God.
Throughout the book, Mackenzie shares the stories of various princesses throughout the Bible. She details the account of Pharaoh's daughter, Abagail, Jehosehba, the Queen of Sheba, Esther, and Michal. To provide some negative examples of a princess, she includes a chapter about Jezebel and one on Herodias's daughter. Each chapter is meant to show an example of the kind of character a true princess ought to have. For example, the chapter about the Queen of Sheba emphasizes the need for a real princess to seek godly wisdom. I liked how she encouraged young girls to ask questions about God. She tells her reader to follow the Queen's example:
Follow her example and ask questions about God. Remember you can ask god questions when you pray. He gives you his answers in his Word. Most people who use the princess theme focus on how pretty or special a young girl is. This book instead focuses on godly character.
At the end of each chapter, the reader is directed to see the example of Christ, to see how He embodies every good and godly example that a young girl can have. Mackenzie also includes at the end of each chapter the Bible text where the reader can find the details of the story. I like to see books that encourage young girls to read Scripture, and books that show that the story doesn't end with the resolution, but rather that it continues with Christ, who is what the Bible is all about.
Mackenzie writes in a friendly, humorous, conversational style. One can almost hear a woman's voice telling a story to a group of young girls, sitting eagerly at her feet. There were lovely black and white illustrations throughout the book, something my daughter always liked, because she would often colour them later. I don't know if young girls like to do that anymore (it might mean shutting off their cellphones!), but my daughter loved to engage with a book in that way.
At the end of the book Mackenzie emphasizes that each girl is personally accountable to God:
God is telling you, if you are a Christian, that he is to be the most important person in your life. He is to be more important than friends and family. You are to live a life that honours God because he is your Lord and King. When God looks on you, he wants to be pleased with you. He wants you to remind him of his Son, Jesus Christ.
Our young girls face a barrage of ugliness in the media. The examples that are directed their way through music and entertainment are often not the ones a Christian mother wants for her daughter. I found it refreshing to have a book that points young girls away from the examples of celebrities and back to Scripture. It is never too late to begin promoting godly character in our young girls. My daughter is 23 now, but if I had a granddaughter, I would give this book to her. In the meantime, perhaps I'll save it in case that blessing comes my way some day.
I was provided with a free copy of this book with no obligation other than to produce an honest review.