This morning I was a scientist studying lions and a magic doctor healing giraffes. I was a three-year-old girl holding a baby jaguar; I was a pony running through a candy forest. I was friends with a lion, a little girl, a pony, and finally, a princess.

The princess, my 3-year-old daughter Rosie, put on a pink and white nightgown. "I think this twirls," she said, experimenting. "I must be a princess!"

Like any modern mom, I'm wary of Cinderella eating my daughter. I decided it was time to conduct some research. "What do princesses do?" I asked."I don't know," she said, disinterested. "They organize things." Then, she added nonchalantly, "Sometimes people think I'm a princess … because they think I'm pretty. Hey Mom, chase me!"

I'm relieved that Rosie consistently chooses to play tag or lions before playing princess, especially if what makes a princess a princess is just beauty.

Let me be clear: I have nothing against twirly skirts, telling our daughters that they are beautiful, or fairy tales with happy endings. I enjoy love stories, including my own, which, incidentally, began a long time ago in a faraway land and involves a strong man with kind eyes.

I have nothing against princesses, when they are done right. But I do tend to get up in arms when the story told - especially by Christians - to my daughter features a beautiful, silent, passive, nameless teenage princess who needs only a man chosen for her to marry in order to have a happy ending.

Stories matter, and in this formative period in which my daughter can remember the words to a book after hearing it only once or twice, I'm careful about what she hears, especially if she's hearing about God. That's why I find The Princess and the Three Knights (Zonderkids 2009), ...

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