Amy Says Read This

Seriously, you should totally read this.


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The Princess in Black by Shannon & Dean Hale & LeUyen Pham

Image from Goodreads.com

Image from Goodreads.com

Hale, S., Hale, D., & Pham, L. (ill.) (2014). The Princess in Black. Candlewick Press: Massachusetts. ISBN: 9780763665104

Annotation: When the monster alarm rings, Princess Magnolia jumps into action and transforms into her monster fighting alter ego, the Princess in Black!

Reaction: In this short beginning chapter book, the Hales introduce readers to the wonderful character of Princess Magnolia, who is a perfect, pink-wearing princess, until it’s time to kick some monster tush. Then it’s time for Princess Magnolia to don practical shorts, boots and a cape in black.

One of the best things about this book is the way Princess Magnolia embraces both sides of herself: the girly, super feminine princess and the strong, capable, monster-tush-kicking superheroine. I recently came across a great article about how it does a disservice to children and women to treat girliness as being less good than tomboyishness, and I think, in light of that, the Hales have done something remarkable here. This is a book that tells children that being feminine and wearing pink is great! And so is going out and saving the kingdom from monsters! The two aren’t mutually exclusive, and that’s a great lesson.

On top of that, the story is engaging and funny, and though this story is pretty brief, the Hales have managed to create fully realized characters and a world around them. The illustrations are bright and colorful and add a lot of whimsy and humor to the text.

I really, really hope there are going to be more adventures of Princess Magnolia/the Princess in Black. The Hales have only begun to scratch the surface in this one.

Media used: watercolor and ink

Author’s Website

Illustrator’s Website


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Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker

Image from Goodreads.com

Image from Goodreads.com

Baker, E. D. (2010). Wide-awake princess. New York: Bloomsbury. ISBN: 9781599904870

Annotation: Annie’s fairy godmother gift is that no magic can touch her. After her older sister, Sleeping Beauty, pricks her finger and sends everyone in the castle into enchanted sleep, it’s up to Annie to find the solution.

Reaction: E.D. Baker has a pretty prolific series that is spun off from “The Frog Prince” (apparently, the first volume was the inspiration for the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog). I haven’t read any of those yet, but based on how quick and fun this one was, I might have to check it out. I actually don’t know why I didn’t pick up The Frog Princess from the library, as I’m pretty sure they had it on the shelf, and I had to request this one.

Anyways, the cover for this book is just delightful. It really sets the tone for the story; as the princess gazes out over a sleeping castle, the reader can see the adventure brimming in her eyes. This princess is full of spunk and ready to get out and see what the world has to offer. After everyone in the castle is asleep, she sets off to find her sister’s True Love, collecting as many princes as she can in the hopes that one of them can break the spell. Along the way, she meets many familiar fairy tale faces, wicked witches and enchanted princes, and she comes to realize that she wants more than magically beautiful, boring perfection.

This was a fast, fun read. I love all the other fairy tale characters Baker throws in the story, and I love Annie’s independence. She’s a great role model for young teen girls, and I do look forward to reading more of her adventures.

Author’s Website