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
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