The Donkey Prince by M. Jean Craig

The Donkey Prince retold by M. Jean Craig
Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

First Published: 1977
Genre: picture book, fairy tale
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

Once there lived a King and a Queen who ruled over a wide and peaceful kingdom.

Comments: A King and Queen who can have no children ask a wizard for help but when the King pays him he substitutes lead pieces for some of the gold. When the wizard finds out, he curses them to have a child who looks like a donkey and will remain as such until someone loves him as a human. The King and Queen are heartbroken and pay no attention to the child. He is teased by the other children and eventually leaves home until he finds another court who welcome him because he is a wonderful lute player. Here he fulfills his destiny.

I read this to the 7yo for our daily fairy tale story. This is a retelling of the Grimm tale of the same name. Before writing this review I pulled out my copy of the Complete Tales of Grimm and read the original tale which is very different from this retelling. I actually prefer this version; it is a lovely fairy tale and Cooney's watercolour illustrations are beautiful. The little donkey prince looks so cute one can't help but feel for him and cheer him on. This is a happy ending story with a moral of accepting and loving others even when they look different.


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