Title:  "Princess Madison and the Royal Darling Pageant"
Author:  Karen Scalf Linamen
Publisher:  Revell

Because she was able to watch Mom spending hours at the piano playing and singing praises to God, and Dad at his desk with his face buried in his hands in prayer, Karen Scalf Linamen, author of the children's book "Princess Madison and the Royal Darling Pageant" (Revell, February 2006), considers herself blessed to have such godly examples that really walked the walk.

"My parents were amazing," Karen recalls. "They encouraged me from the beginning." Before Karen was old enough to spell, her mother transcribed her "poems" – and when she was in the sixth grade, her dad printed literally hundreds of copies of the neighborhood newspaper she and her two sisters had started. Linamen always knew she would be a writer, and she was right.

Linamen has two daughters. When Kaitlyn turned 15, she was given a silver Cladaugh ring – two hands holding a crowned heart. Linamen wrote her daughter a letter that accompanied the gift.

"In that letter, I reminded her that she was royalty, a princess, a daughter of the King," says Linamen. "I admitted that there would be times she would forget to act like a princess, times when she made mistakes or felt rebellious or whatever, but I assured her that, even when she didn't act or feel like a princess, she still was one. I assured her that princesses didn't get to be princesses because of what they did or didn't do, but because of their relationship to the King."

A few weeks later, she was watching her younger daughter Kacie stuff pill bugs in her pockets. Kacie was six at the time – and a certifiable tomboy. "I found myself thinking, 'What if there was a little tomboy princess who couldn't seem to act like a princess no matter how hard she tried. ...' And Madison was born."

So Kaitlyn, now a freshman at Colorado Christian University, inspired the concept; and Kacie, who is now 11 and loves to write, inspired the character. "Madison is modeled after Kacie, right down to the holes in her jeans and her addiction to Dr Pepper!" says Linamen.

"Princess Madison and the Royal Darling Pageant" is the first book of the trilogy. In it, Madison learns that her "status" as a princess has absolutely nothing to do with her ability to do things like curtsey and pour tea and knight knights, and everything to do with who she is in relationship to the King. Imagine a father cupping the face of his daughter in his hands, looking deep into her eyes and saying, "Hey, you're mine. You belong to me. Whether clumsy or poised, good or bad, going through the terrible twos or teenage acne ... none of that changes the fact that you belong to me and I love you."

"To this day," says Linamen, "my dad will wrap his arm around my neck in this sort of loving headlock thing and say, 'You're mine, you know that? You belong to me.'"

In each of the three books in this series, Princess Madison's "un-princesslike" escapades lead her to discover important truths about what it really means to be a daughter of the king and paralleling the lesson to what it means to be a beloved daughter of the Heavenly King.

In the second book, Madison wanders carelessly into forbidden woods and learns that whether she heeds an ounce of prevention or does as she pleases and ends up needing a pound of cure, her father's love for her never changes.

In the final book, Madison adopts a secret puppy against her mother's orders. Hiding the puppy in various parts of the castle, she meets with disastrous results repeatedly. Soon a little secret becomes a whole lot of trouble. How long can she keep her secret hidden from her dad? Perhaps the bigger question is, how long does she want to?

The series has extraordinary illustrations. "I want to create images of love and mercy and grace that will stay with my little readers for a long, long time to come," says Linamen. "And Phyllis Hornung's illustrations are magic! She completely captured Madison's personality! I couldn't be more thrilled."

For children – and grownups, too – reading "Princess Madison" will create an image of the kind of transparent, intimate relationship God wants. It's a reminder to all of us that, no matter how old we get or how unworthy we might feel, we're loved by a God who longs for us to call him Daddy.


© 2006 AgapePress.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.