Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Princess in Black (The Princess in Black #1) by Shannon Hale

After reading the Legends of King Arthur where the females are presented as dorks and the guys get all the fun being heroes, I have a new appreciation for stories that have girl heroes. What's unusual about this book is that it reaches that oh-so-hard-to-find group of readers that are transitioning from picture to chapter books. This fairy tale princess has a secret and when the kingdom's biggest busybody, Duchess Wigtower, comes to visit, the princess is called to don her mask and save the kingdom incognito without alerting the Duchess. Young readers will like the adventure as Princess Magnolia corrals a blue monster that looks a bit like the "Sulley" from Monster's Inc.

Princess Magnolia is stuck having tea with the gray-haired Duchess whose hair is piled on her head like a two-foot tall mini-tornado, when her secret ring goes off warning her that the kingdom is in danger. Not wanting to raise her suspicions, Princess Magnolia comes up with a lame excuse to go change into her black super hero costume and see what is up. In the meantime, a blue monster that lives underground with other monsters is trying to remember why he shouldn't leave his den but he is so hungry that he crawls out anyway. He finds some goats with a shepherd and immediately goes after one. The shepherd named, Duff, thinks the Princess in Black looks familiar and decides to come up with his own superhero costume, Goat Avenger. It would appear that many more adventures are in the making for the Princess in Black and that a sidekick might play a part as book one of a future series ends.

There are quite a few illustrations than one usually finds in this length of book. Or maybe that is because I just finished "Leroy Ninker Saddles Up" and it had noticeably fewer pictures than this one. The color pages add to the fun and gross humor. When blue monster eats a plate of toe-nail clippings I cringed and laughed at the same time. The two-page spread of Princess Magnolia's ninja moves on the blue monster adds to the action and excitement. Duchess Wigtower reminds me a bit of the Disney stepmother in "Cinderella" except her mountainous hair adds humor.  A great addition to Mercy Watson series in your library.

4 Smileys 

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