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Dealing with Dragons: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book One Hardcover – September 18, 1990

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Editorial Reviews Review

Cimorene, princess of Linderwall, is a classic tomboy heroine with classic tomboy strengths--all of which are perceived by those around her as defects: "As for the girl's disposition--well, when people were being polite, they said she was strong-minded. When they were angry or annoyed with her, they said she was as stubborn as a pig." Cimorene, tired of etiquette and embroidery, runs away from home and finds herself in a nest of dragons. Now, in Cimorene's world--a world cleverly built by author Patricia C. Wrede on the shifting sands of myriad fairy tales--princesses are forever being captured by dragons. The difference here is that Cimorene goes willingly. She would rather keep house for the dragon Kazul than be bored in her parents' castle. With her quick wit and her stubborn courage, Cimorene saves the mostly kind dragons from a wicked plot hatched by the local wizards, and worms her way into the hearts of young girls everywhere.

While the characters are sometimes simplistically drawn, adults and children will have fun tracing the sources of the various fairy tales Wrede plunders for her story. Dealing with Dragons is the first book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and most young readers will want to devour the entire series. (Ages 10 and older) --Claire Dederer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9-- The independent princess has been well established in modern children's books, but there can't be a dandier example than Princess Cimorene. Rangy, curious, energetic, matter-of-fact, she rolls up her sleeves and gets the job done with a happy disregard for the traditions of her role. Although her parents want her to stifle her improper interests in fencing, Latin, and cooking, the princess is not about to be forced into marriage with the vapid prince they have chosen. She throws herself wholeheartedly into a career as a dragon's princess, a respectable role, although not one for which one usually volunteers. As she fends off nosy wizards, helps out hysterical princesses, and turns away determined rescuers, Cimorene makes a firm place for herself in the dragon world. The story is full of excitement, sly references to the staples of fantasy and fairy tales, and good humor. Cimorene is of a sisterhood that includes Menolly, the dragonsinger of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsong (Atheneum, 1976); and Avi's Morwenna of Bright Shadow (Bradbury, 1985), but Wrede's delightful voice is all her own. Her previous books have generally been played as YA or even adult fiction, but Cimorene is so much fun that once younger readers discover her here, many will want to search outthe earlier titles. One of these, Talking to Dragons (Ace, 1985) is narrated by Cimorene's son and introduces many of this book's main characters. --Sally T. Margolis, Park Ridge Public Library, IL
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 6
  • Series: Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; First Edition edition (September 18, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152229000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152229009
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (367 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,333,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

PATRICIA C. WREDE has written many novels, including Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot and The Grand Tour coauthored with Caroline Stevermer, as well as the four books in her own series, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. She lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Alex on April 28, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was looking at the interview with J.K. Rowling when I saw the sign 'What to Read After Harry Potter.' I immediately clicked on, eager to see what was recommended. And I saw this fantastic book. I began my journey into the kingdom of Linderwall last year. I gleefully followed Cimorene on her adventures as the Kazul's (a dragon's!) princess, and couldn't WAIT for more. But no matter how many book stores I looked in I couldn't find the rest of the series. So imagine my delight when I looked here. Dealing With Dragons is an incredible read. It has everything a book needs: excitement, adventure, a touch of romance, and a highly believable main character. Who can honestly say that they haven't felt the way Cimorene does: sick and tired of their life, in her case a boring life of a princess, with nothing better to do then 'lady-like activities'. So the princess sets out to stop being a princess, with a great outcome. Turning away princes who come save her? As if she needs saving! It's a wonderful twist on the fairy tales of weak princesses being captured by vicious dragons, and being saved by the big strong princes. Cimorene volunteers to be a dragon's princess; if anyone needs saving it's those princes who come to 'rescue' her. I definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone. And the last thing I say is, "ENJOY!"
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The rebellious princess has become so common, she's now a cliche. A princess doesn't like her life of privilege and wealth, so she either hangs around her home being rebellious, or she runs away.

But what if a princess ran away from home... to be housekeeper to a dragon?

That's the concept of "Dealing With Dragons," a clever little fantasy that tells its own quirky story while cleverly lampooning the tropes of high fantasy and fairy tales. A lot of the charm comes from Patricia Wrede's humorous dialogue ("Oh bother!") and the cliche-busting character of Cimorene, who just wants to be free to pursue her love of unprincessy things like cooking and magic.

Princess Cimorene is rather put out when she's told that she cannot use swords, Latin conjugation, spoons or magic... because she's a princess. When her parents decide they're going to marry her off to the son of Sathem-by-the-Mountains, she takes the advice of a magic frog and runs away... to become the housekeeper and personal princess of a dragon, Kazul.

This lifestyle suits Cimorene much better than her "proper" princess life, despite the princes and knights who keep trying to rescue her. But she soon discovers that the dragons are in danger from the wizards -- and before long, they have poisoned the King of the Dragons. And if Cimorene doesn't thwart the wizards' plot, dragon society might be turned upside down.

One of the best things about "The Enchanted Forest Chronicles" is that it is a pretty decent high fantasy story. In addition to the whole fun story about a princess trying to escape her stuffy princessy life, there's some entertaining dragon politics, magical strife, and melting wizards.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 17, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a delightful little book of fantasy. I think all of us like to escape from time to time to a world such as that of the Enchanted Forest and the Mountains of Morning. Although this world is inhabited by dragons and bothersome wizards, it is still an airy, light-filled world that captivates the imagination. Cimorene is a princess who has no interest in learning the things a princess is supposed to learn; she would rather learn fencing, magic, cooking, and other things forbidden by her parents. Her parents finally give up on changing her ways of thinking and decide to marry her off to the prince of a neighboring realm. Rather than submit to this unwanted fate, she takes the advice of a friendly frog and volunteers to serve as a dragon's princess. The dragon Kazul accepts her offer, and Cimorene goes to work organizing Kazul's treasure rooms, cataloguing the scrolls in her library, and making cherries jubilee and other foods for her. Several princes, including her betrothed, come calling to rescue her, and she has to continually explain to them that she does not want to be rescued. Cimorene comes to discover a plot between the Wizard Society and one turncoat dragon, and it is largely up to her and the princess Alianora, working in conjunction with Kazul, the witch Morwen, and a stone prince to sort out the plan and goals of this dastardly plot and prevent the dragons from granting kingship to the traitor. Even when things are hairy, Cimorene keeps her wits about her, foiling much of the action with her own extraordinary determination.
Apparently Wrede's Enchanted Forest chronicles are considered young adult literature.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Nshan Balasanyan on December 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a great book that I think anyone who could should read it, because the way the author expresses the character of Cimorene. She has shown the main character as a tomboy who doesn't and is tired of the thing they do in the royal family.
Princess Cimorene finds embroidery, etiquette, and being a princess boring, so she runs away and becomes a dragon's princess. She loves her new job, which allows her to practice her Latin, magic, fencing, and cooking skills, all far more interesting than etiquette, but sadly neglected by her tutors at the palace. Her intelligence and common sense soon make her an indispensable advisor to her dragon, Kazul. (Cimorene would be cross with me for calling Kazul her dragon, actually Cimorene is Kazul's princess. Convenience necessitates the shocking error.) Cimorene is never more indispensable than when she discovers a dastardly plot by the Society of Wizards to take over the dragons' kingdom in the Mountains of Morning.
Princess Cimorene and Kazul are both intelligent, strong willed heroines, and great role models for kids of both sexes. There's also a fun supporting cast, including the no-nonsense witch Morwen, the shy Princess Alianora, who comes into her own with Cimorene's help, the rather grandfatherly old dragon Roxim and his allergies, the stone prince, and lots of dragons, wizards, and cats.
But the aspect of Dealing with Dragons (and the others in the series) that I enjoy most is not the exciting plot or the characters, but the humor. The novel is packed with sly references to popular fairy tales, slightly skewed so that the novel is at times an enjoyable parody of the fairy tale genre.
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