My daughter (3.5) is really into fairies and princesses. I am trying to avoid all things Disney and to counter the myths that a princess needs to find a prince to be happy. Any recommendations on good books would be appreciated.
What aspect of fairies and princesses does she really enjoy? If it is the fancy part there are some great books like the Fancy Nancy series and the Pinkalicious series that explore being fancy and independence. The barbie company has done a lot of fairy movies that involve no falling in love, a strong female character, and they have books to go with each (the princess movies have a strong female character who saves the day but falling in love also happens), that is probably a character you are hoping to avoid also though. The Rainbow Fairy books may interest your dd at this age because they are predictable. They were one of the first sets of chapter books I read to my dd and she loved them.
The Fairy House books by Tracy Kane are great! They are picture books with lovely illustrations and had my kids out in the yard building fairy houses several times over the last few years. Here in New England there is a touring fairy house display that we've gone to see at a local park - really beautiful creations and they have an area with supplies for making your own as well! We even met the author and had our books signed as well!
There are tons of cute dress ups that are not Disney themed, tiara's, fairy wings, sparkly dresses, big gaudy necklaces, LOL. Playmobil makes a neat princess/fairy castle set and I think Fisher Price might make a Little People set like that too. The Paper Bag Princess is a good picture book. My 7 year old loves reading the Rainbow Magic Fairies series (these are early chapter books). The girls/fairies always save the day and they fight against Jack frost and goblins (aka boys LOL). No prince charming and none of the weird jealousy that is Tinkerbell.......