Princess Magnolia has a big secret—she’s actually the Princess in Black, defender of the kingdom. When the monster alarm goes off, she rushes to the rescue. But today Princess Magnolia has a big problem. The monster alarm is ringing, but she’s having hot chocolate with nosy Duchess Wigtower. And Duchess Wigtower just loves to learn people’s secrets. Can she sneak away to defeat the monster without Duchess Wigtower learning about the Princess in Black?
As the author of the Princess Academy series for older readers, Shannon Hale knows her princesses. In this book, the first in a series for younger elementary readers she’s teamed up with her husband, Dean Hale, to create a great role model for princess-obsessed kids. Princess Magnolia is frilly and dainty and afraid of snails—and she also kicks monster butt. It’s a great girl-power message, and shows young readers that it’s possible to be delicate and strong at the same time. Princesses can wear pink—and black, too.
The combination of full-color illustrations and text are great for readers starting to move on from picture books but not quite ready to read books with only text. Sentences and chapters are short and the story is engaging. The monsters aren’t really very scary—even the most timid readers should be able to enjoy the story without being frightened. Highly recommended for princess lovers and kids who like books with lots of action.
Review by Kate Sweeney
The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale; Candlewick; c2014