Friday, November 28, 2014

The Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale; Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

I was excited when I heard about Shannon Hale's new series, mostly because I mainly heard it described as a graphic novel. Dear people; please note that a book containing illustrations is not automatically a graphic novel.

However, even though it turned out to be an illustrated beginning chapter book, I fell in love with plump and energetic Princess Magnolia.

The story opens with what appears to be a typical princess setting; dressed in frilly pink, Princess Magnolia is having tea with the Duchess Wigtower. Everything is absolutely perfect. But wait! Princess Magnolia has a secret - when the monster alarm sounds she turns into...the Princess in Black and defends her country from monsters! Can she keep her secret from the nosy Duchess Wigtower and Duff the goat boy?

LeUyen Pham pictures a princess who is perfect - perfectly awesome that is! Whether dressed in her fancy princess gowns or sporting svelte black and a sparkly crown, Magnolia's exuberant personality, smarts, and self-confidence shine through every page. She looks like an adorable and very real little girl with chubby cheeks, and not a hyper-sexualized doll. Pham's bright colors and cute characters are a sweet match for this story; like the text, they just sparkle with personality.

Verdict: This is a delightful new beginning chapter series, from the perfect blend of sparkly princess and action heroine, the dark-skinned goat boy, a personality in his own right (coming soon - the Goat Avenger!) and the silly monsters. I can't recommend this enough; it's got something for everyone and I think it will find immediate fans in your library.

ISBN: 9780763665104; Published 2014 by Candlewick; Review copy provided by LT Early Reviewers; Purchased for the library

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