🎉 Get free books every day, no need to sign up, just download
universityofthephoenix logo
Close this search box.

Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Books: A Review of ‘Princess Smartypants’

Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Books: A Review of ‘Princess Smartypants’

Gender stereotypes have long been a part of children’s literature, with many classic tales featuring traditional roles for boys and girls. However, there has been a growing movement to break down these stereotypes and present children with more diverse and inclusive stories. The book ‘Princess Smartypants’ is a perfect example of a children’s story that challenges gender norms and provides a positive alternative to traditional fairy tales.

In this article, we will review ‘Princess Smartypants’ and explore how it breaks gender stereotypes in children’s literature. We will also discuss the importance of diverse representation in books for kids and how this can have a positive impact on their development and worldview.


‘Princess Smartypants’ is a children’s book written and illustrated by Babette Cole, first published in 1986. The story follows the adventures of a strong-willed princess who is determined to remain unmarried and independent. Instead of seeking a prince to rescue her, Princess Smartypants sets her sights on winning a series of challenges that would-be suitors must complete to win her hand in marriage.

The book is a refreshing departure from traditional fairy tales that often feature passive princesses waiting to be rescued by their handsome princes. Instead, ‘Princess Smartypants’ empowers young readers by showing that girls can be strong, independent, and capable of achieving their goals on their own terms.

Breaking Gender Stereotypes

One of the most significant ways that ‘Princess Smartypants’ breaks gender stereotypes is by presenting a female protagonist who is not interested in marriage or traditional gender roles. Princess Smartypants is a tomboy who enjoys riding her motorcycle, playing sports, and taking care of her animals. She does not conform to the typical image of a princess, with her unconventional interests and refusal to be tied down by societal expectations.

Another way that the book breaks gender stereotypes is by subverting the traditional fairy tale ending. Instead of marrying a prince and living happily ever after, Princess Smartypants chooses to remain single and independent. This sends a powerful message to young readers that they do not need to conform to traditional gender roles or societal expectations to be happy.

The book also challenges gender stereotypes by depicting male characters who are not afraid to show their emotions or take on traditionally feminine roles. For example, one of the suitors who tries to win Princess Smartypants’ hand is a sensitive and artistic man who enjoys cooking and taking care of his home.

Importance of Diverse Representation

Diverse representation in children’s literature is crucial because it provides young readers with a broader perspective of the world around them. When kids see characters from different backgrounds, genders, and abilities in books, they learn that everyone has value and deserves to be represented in media.

Additionally, diverse representation in books can help break down stereotypes and promote acceptance of differences. When children see characters who do not conform to traditional gender roles or who come from different cultural backgrounds, they learn to appreciate and respect diversity.


‘Princess Smartypants’ is a fantastic children’s book that breaks gender stereotypes and promotes diversity and inclusion. By presenting a strong, independent female protagonist who does not conform to traditional gender roles, the book empowers young readers and promotes positive messages about inclusivity and acceptance.

As parents and educators, it is crucial to provide children with books that challenge stereotypes and provide diverse representation. By doing so, we can help promote acceptance and understanding of differences and create a more inclusive world for everyone.