Princess Hyacinth (the Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated)

Written by:Florence Parry Heide

Illustrated by:Lane Smith

Before Reading

Preview and Predict

Princess Hyacinth floated. Unless she was attached to something, or weighted down, she just floated- up, up, up.

Princess Hyacinth is just like any other princess except for one special trait. She floats! Before diving into this silly story, take a moment to get your little one talking and making predictions about the story. Ask questions like:

What do you see on the cover? 

Why do you think Princess Hyacinth floats? How do you think she feels about being able to float? (Bring attention to her facial expression in the cover illustration) How would you feel if you could float?

What do you think will happen in the story?

What are some other stories that have princesses in them? Do you think this story will be like those? How do you think it will be the same? How do you think it will be different?

{Flip to a page} What do you think is happening in this picture?

As You Read

Build Vocabulary

As you read this story, try emphasizing the italicized words in the text. Also, point out new vocabulary that your child may not be familiar with. 

  2. ARRANGEMENTFor younger children, you can first define the word as "when you put things or people in a certain order and position" and then emphasize this meaning by collecting things around your home and arranging them by size, shape, color, etc.


Monitor Comprehension

Be sure to discuss the illustrations with your child, especially elements that aren't described in the text. S/he can learn a lot from characters' facial expressions, scenery, etc. Ask questions like, "How will they catch Princess Hyacinth? What do you think will happen next? How would you feel if you had to stay inside while the other kids could play outside?" 

After Reading

Make Connections

Talk about the story! Ask about the storyline itself, get to some critical thinking questions, and ask him/her about possible alternatives to how the story went by asking these questions:

What was the story about? Did you like it?

How did they keep her from floating away?

How do you think she came to be able to float? Do you think she was born like that or something happened to make her float?

What would have happened if the boy hadn't been there when she floated away?

Princess Hyacinth discovered a way not to be bored anymore: by floating outside and playing with her new friend, Boy. What do you like to do when you're bored?

Extending the Story

Kites and Weights!


With just a few kitchen supplies, you can create your own kite! You may not be able to catch any princesses but you can surely enjoy watching your kite sail through the sky with your little one. Talk about how the wind carries the kite through the air and compare what would happen on a very windy day vs. what happens on a day where there isn't much wind. 


STEM Extension

The only way that they could keep Princess Hyacinth from floating away was by strapping her to chairs or weighing her down with her heavy crown and clothes so talk to your child about weights and compare the weights of different things around your house using your own homemade hanger balance. If you like, you can also create a chart and document the different weights like they do here. And don't be fooled by the name of the blog, this activity is fun for both boys AND girls! You can also use cups and beans if you'd like.