December 12, 2014
The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
The Princess in Black
by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Princess Magnolia hosts tea, wearing her pink gown, her glass slippers and her sparkly tiara. As she and Duchess Wigtower sit in the palace sipping tea, the Duchess confesses how happy she is to be at the palace. She absolutely loves having the opportunity to sneak around someone’s home and discover their secrets.
Princess Magnolia isn’t thrilled with this news because she has a secret and its a big one. As the alarm on her her glitter stone ring goes off, announcing the arrival of a monster in her kingdom, the Princess makes an excuse to flee and ditch her gown in a broom closet. As the moves through a tunnel, she changes clothes and emerges as The Princess in Black, boots, cape and mask in place.
I haven’t seen this type of chapter book since the Mercy Watson books. The story itself is light-hearted and fun but developed to the chapter book stage (vs either picture book or early reader) but each and every spread includes a color illustration. Not surprisingly, these are put out by Candlewick, the same publisher that did Mercy Watson. LeUyen Pham’s watercolor and ink illustrations are expressive and fun and definitely add to the Saturday morning cartoon feel of this escapade.
I’m looking forward to additional books in this series because I think that as the authors develop Duff the goat boy (he herds goats; he is not a boy and a goat) the books will have a greater appeal to boys. While I wouldn’t call this a “girl book” simply because I don’t appreciate the girl book vs boy book way of thinking, the appeal will definitely be greater for girls. Princess Magnolia is the perfect character for girls who combine their love of princesses and sparkle with their love of strong heroes.
If your girl carries a sword while wearing her tiara or fusses because the Nerf battle axe needs a bit more pizazz (truly, it does), this is the book for her.