From School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Princess Olivia lives with King Horace and Queen Cora in a crumbling castle in the Green Mountain Kingdom now known as Vermont. Her mother is a worrywart, and her father is quite melancholy-especially when he thinks about the poor condition of the royal bank account. Princess Olivia goes out to her bower one day to play, where she befriends a hoop snake, a snake that has swallowed its own tail, turning itself into a living hula hoop. In the woods, Olivia runs into the dreaded and villainous Count Carlos Maximillian Von Dusseldorf, who cannot believe his good luck to have stumbled upon the princess all alone. He promptly throws her into a cage and carts her off to the middle of the woods with his magical minion, Georgette, in order to blackmail a ransom out of her parents, not realizing that they are, in fact, destitute. With the moaning and groaning king and his worrisome queen rambling through the woods searching for their missing daughter, helped by the dashing Prince Dropoffsky, the Count and Georgette try to stay one step ahead of them, while the intelligent princess spends her time with Mr. Snake, plotting her escape. This slight but humorous story is filled with rigorous and playful vocabulary that would be fun to explore in a classroom. The bumbling actions of the royals, along with the descriptions of Count Von Dusseldorf, allow for creative-writing extensions as well. Pen-and-ink illustrations complement the text. Readers who enjoy fractured fairy tales and their original counterparts might enjoy this whimsical chapter book. Consider for larger collections.—Lisa Kropp, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
About the Author
Charles F.D. Egbert read classic children's stories to his three sons and created stories filled with wild adventures, high wire acts, arctic hunting expeditions and even a talking horse. He met the 'real' Olivia at a Vermont farmer's market. She was an imaginative child, eight years old, brave as a bear and a world class hoola-hooper. Mr. Egbert is the author of a dozen plays and a novel for adults entitled A Question of Survival. He lives with his wife Carol, also an author,in Quechee, VT.