Saara Kekäläinen & Netta Lehtola: The Princess Who Did A Runner

This little nipper wanted to be wise, strong, and wild – and wasn’t going to wait around for a prince.

Author: Saara Kekäläinen
Illustrator: Netta Lehtola
Finnish original: Prinsessa joka lähti kälppimään
Publisher: S&S, 2022
Genre: children’s illustrated fiction
Number of pages: 42 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English translation

Rights sold: Czech Republic, Portal; Denmark, Straarup & Co.; Greece, Ammos; Latvia, Latvijas Mediji; Slovenia, Hiša knjig; Ukraine, Charitarium

Leona is a young princess who does a runner when she learns of the fate that awaits her: she must marry a prince in order to save her kingdom.

Leona jumps from one princess fairytale to the next in order to save herself from the age-old burdens of princesses that lurk around every corner – marriage and household chores. Along the way she meets many characters including a melancholic mirror, the species-changing Swanhilda, and princes with a penchant for glass shoes, menacing pouts, and rescue mission obsessions – not to mention seven adult men who are short of stature and don’t want to learn to clean and cook for themselves. The kind-hearted Leona helps everyone, but on her own terms. This princess refuses to be gentle, humble, and kind, just because that’s what’s expected of a fairytale princess!

The Princess Who Did A Runner is a picture book full of sharp humour that will even offer big children and adults plenty of food for thought. It was nominated for the Arvid Lydecken Award 2023.

“OUCH!” shouted the prince, whose lips Leona had just smacked her head into.
“Another prince! This is all too much!” said Leona.
“I was just trying to wake you with a kiss,” explained the prince.
“Why would you even think about kissing someone who’s asleep? Besides I’m already wide awake, thank you very much,” said Leona.
“Could you please just listen to what I have to say?” asked the prince, producing a piece of paper.
“If you were a cat, I would be catastrophically in love with you,” he read and glanced at Leona.
“Didn’t it work? I’ll cross it out. How about—” the prince continued.
“How about I just disappear?” Leona said, getting up.
“There’s a prince and half a kingdom on offer here,” the prince shouted after her.
“I’ve already got a whole kingdom. Go that way, you can lock lips with one of the frogs. I’m
borrowing your horse!” said Leona

Also available:
Penelope and the Perilous Porridge (2022)
Penelope and the Big Baby Tooth Ballyhoo (2023)

About the authors:
Saara Kekäläinen
Netta Lehtola