Monday, November 17, 2014

A new series for young independent readers ... from the team that brought you Rapunzel and Calamity Jack.

Princess in Black by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Candelwick, 2014. Reviewed by parent and library volunteer, Jasmine George.

The Princess in Black is a charming read that turns the typical princess tale on it's head.  The book tells the story of Princess Magnolia, who at first glance seems to be your run of the mill, frilly dress-wearing, sparkly tiara-sporting princess.  She is at her castle enjoying scones and hot chocolate with the very traditional and very nosy Duchess Wingtower, when her monster alarm rings.  After awkwardly excusing herself, she sheds her frilly pink dress and becomes the Princess in Black; a wall-scaling, horse-riding, monster-wrestling heroine.  As the Princess in Black, she must contend not only with protecting the kingdom from the monsters who occasionally venture out from beneath the ground in search of goats to eat, she must also work to hide her secret identity from the prying eyes of Duchess Wingtower.  The Duchess believes everyone has something to hide, and is determined to prove that Princess Magnolia is not as proper and perfect as she seems.  This book is less about challenging gender roles and more about challenging expectations in general.  Best suited for children ages 4 to 8 years, The Princess in Black is sure to delight as it invites readers to explore their own self-identity and explore the ways in which they do or do not fit the perceptions that others (parents, teachers, etc.) may have of them.  

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the giveaway copy and to Jasmine George for reading and reviewing it. Please visit their  Princess in Black website. for more information about this book including "Seven Things You Didn't Know About the Princess in Black." Also Visit Shannon Hale's Official Website to learn more about the author and her books.

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