I love getting do a bit of reading and research when I start a new project. Whether it's for a freelance assignment or a personal project, I like to start off doing some research first, gleaning bits of inspiration here and there. It's no surprise then that when I started working on illustration for a princess-themed book, that I dove into reading a lot of fairytales to get myself in a princess state of mind!
Along the way I came across a fairytale by the Brothers Grimm that I had loved but forgotten: The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces or as it is now more popularly known, Twelve Dancing Princesses. This sometimes charming, sometimes morbid tale of 12 princesses who are mysteriously wearing out dancing shoes each night has been retold and revisited many times.
But one of my new favorites is the version retold and illustrated by Brigette Barrager, published by Chronicle Books last year:
The illustrations are quite charming! And the retelling is just lovely.
You can discover more of Brigitte's charming work on her blog.
Since discovering this new Twelve Dancing Princesses I've been on a bit of fairytale retelling kick, exploring a lot of children's books and young adult fiction that are based on fairytales and folk tales. And I just finished reading Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George which takes the tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and expands quite a bit on it. I really enjoyed it!