Review Blog

Nov 09 2017

The princess in black: Three smashing adventures by Shannon and Dean Hale

cover image

Ill. by LeUyen Pham. Candlewick Press, 2017. ISBN 9780763697778
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: Humour. Monsters. Adventure. Superheroes. Getting a monster to return underground where it belongs is not a task allocated to a pretty Princess in Pink, Magnolia, replete with tinkering glass slippers and a tiara. But it is just the right task for the Princess in Black, her alter ego, who can change her clothes in an instant, and leap onto her charger, a few minutes before a unicorn in the paddock calmly chewing the grass. But things do not have quite the same ring as a superhero, for the princess must change into her new guise in the broom closet, slide down a channel built into the castle walls to meet her horse outside the castle walls. Once on the go, she meets up with the goat boy, Duff, trying to protect his goats from the blue monster which has appeared above ground. It cannot remember just why it should not go outside the underground cave where it belongs but soon recalls the reason when the Princess in Back forces a reminder. While she is away the nosey Duchess Wigtower snoops around her castle, adding another layer to the story, with humorous results. The illustrations add to the story, splitting up the text for newer readers, and adding a level of visual literacy that is inviting and fun.
This series turns around the idea of superheroes, with Princess Magnolia changing from her pink outfit to the black to defeat her enemies. The princess in black is the first in the series, followed by The Princess in black and the perfect princess party and The Princess in black and the hungry bunny horde while at the back of the book there are pictures of several more in the series.
Each is funny, adventurous and involving. They will appeal to younger new confident readers.
Fran Knight

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