The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale and LeUyen Pham
|The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale and LeUyen Pham|
|Category: Emerging Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A brisk, clever and knowing little adventure for feisty, clever and knowing little girls.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: August 2015|
|Publisher: Candlewick Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Princess Magnolia has a double life. On one hand she has a perfectly prim, proper and pink castle turret to live in, on the other she has a secret escape tunnel. On her head she has a tiara, on her finger a monster alarm. Her life is also full of threats – on one side a horrid, blue, goat-eating beastie, on the other a prim and proper visitor intent on finding out if the perfect Princess has any secrets. Well we know she has, but will they be discovered – and which is the greater threat?
This is a charming little book for your charming little person. The artwork is brilliantly eye-catching, and evokes more in the way of character than you'd at first expect from such a cartoonishly coloured piece. The authors, having made their own graphic novels, clearly have an eye for an artist who works perfectly in line with their intentions. Their script, too, is equally blunt, vivid and rich – giving you so much through an arch matter-of-factness, a declamatory style pronouncing on what Princesses do and do not do, and bringing a whimsical and successful sense of humour to proceedings.
There's not much in the way of surprise, or completely engaging battle against the monster, but that's to forget the social etiquette side of things – Princesses are judged on their hot chocolate and scones and the way they treat visitors much more than their bravery in rescuing goats from blue monsters. The credit for the book lies in the way that even the youngest will see this dual side to Magnolia as the core of the story – how people can have two completely different sides to their dream life, and how wish-fulfilment through being a Princess may not be the be-all and end-all. You'll note the first sequel (promised for October 2015) is not The Princess versus something, but the Princess and a Perfect Party. This is Batman and Bruce Wayne and that whole conflict, but designed in a perfect way for those choosing their own books for the first time. I'm sure the whole series will be returned to over and over again.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr spins off from a fairy tale in its own similar fashion, and is equally charming.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale and LeUyen Pham at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale and LeUyen Pham at Amazon.com.
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