Boy Detective let me know early on that he did NOT like princesses. "Mom," he said, "I like FAIRIES, not princesses." Strangely, though, he loves every book in this list. It's amazing how a good story can transcend genre prejudices, isn't it? And I enjoyed reading them as much as Boy Detective did.
I also enjoyed finding out that our library is exploding with sassy, spunky, athletic princesses! Unfortunately the vast majority of them are white, reflecting the diversity crisis in children's books in general. (I actually delayed this post for quite a while searching for more princesses of color.) So especially if you have any books that could help diversify this list, please leave any suggestions in the comments.
(If you're new here, here's the full list of picture book posts: friendship, dogs, pirates, bedtime, awesome girls, robots, magic, gardens, cats, superheroes, love and marriage, knights, family, science fiction, food and cooking, art and creativity, dinosaurs, and kids' poetry books. This post uses Amazon affiliate links - but we always encourage checking your local library!)
One Riddle, One Answer by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Linda S. Wingerter.
Aziza is the daughter of a powerful sultan who wants to find his beloved daughter a good husband. But his advisors just recommend their own sons! Aziza comes up with her own plan for finding a husband, and since her dad knows she's a smart lady, he signs on. Aziza loves numbers, you see, so she poses a riddle. Whoever answers it correctly is clearly compatible. It's a gentle, clever book, and the happily ever after feels so good that I dare you not to smile! My number-loving son thought this book was "SO GOOD!"