Building a story from mythical elements isn't easy; in some books, the results can seem clichéd and inauthentic. The Warrior Princess by D. L. Murphy, illustrated by the author and Jan Shannon, avoids that trap and aims toward the heart of what's true.
A Warrior Princess sets off in the forest to find herself, and what she discovers leads to dismay. Each animal she encounters wants to make her over in its own image. The giraffe finds her too short; the frog, not green enough (imagine having that as your standard!); the peacock, not pretty enough to match his flashy feathered array.
Even though the princess feels ugly and frightened after these conversations, she has a spark of royalty that nudges her to press on and learn why their answers don't sit right with her. In a beautiful garden that she reaches with the help of an ornate key, she receives gentle instruction that sets her on the right path — not to anyone else's answers but rather to seeing herself as she is.
Along with its universally fitting story, bonus features make The Warrior Princess appealing for kindergarteners up through fourth graders. These extras include calming illustrations (with possibly the cutest frog ever), a treasure-hunt for yoga poses that are hidden on nearly every page, and a glossary giving Sanskrit names of each pose (with pronunciation). For those who cannot find all the poses, a helpful insert shows you where on each page to look. A reader can come to the book for learning about yoga, for a hidden-pictures puzzle, or for a good tale, but most of all — for a contentment that no one can tarnish.