The Princess in Black

HALE, Shannon & . illus. by Leuyen Pham. 96p. Candlewick. Oct. 2014. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780763665104. LC 2013955700.
K-Gr 3—In this atypical princess story, the refined and frilly Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with the proper Duchess Wigtower when suddenly the monster alarm sounds. As readers quickly find out, Princess Magnolia is actually the Princess in Black. She dons a black cape and ninjalike outfit to fights the monsters that come from Monster Land. Her superhero identity is top secret; Duchess Wigtower must not find out. While the Princess in Black wages battle, Duchess Wigtower snoops around her castle, always looking for evidence of the princesses' imperfections. Meanwhile, Duff the goat boy suspects the true identity of the Princess in Black and considers helping her. The colorful illustrations on each page help move readers through the story as the heroic princess saves the day. The action-packed text in this beginner chapter book will enthrall and is ideal for independent reading or reading aloud. The ending leaves readers with just enough of a wink to hint at a future installment. Give this engaging read to fans of "Bink and Gollie" (Candlewick).—Nancy Jo Lambert, McSpedden Elementary Frisco, TX
Princess Magnolia is entertaining the nosy Duchess Wigtower when the monster alarm sounds, summoning her to transform into her alter ego--the Princess in Black--and send a wayward blue monster back where he belongs. The Hales have boiled the adventure story down to its essential elements, and Pham's action-packed color illustrations keep things light. Clearly a series-starter rather than a standalone story.

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