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The Runaway Princess Hardcover – August 8, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 8
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (August 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374355460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374355463
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7–Princess Meg, 15, has a problem. Her father, the king of Greeve, has issued a proclamation offering her hand in marriage to any prince who can defeat a dragon, a witch, and a hoard of local bandits. The princess isnt thrilled with this plan. After all, the witch is harmless, the dragon defunct, and the bandits steal from the rich and give to the poor. Unfortunately, because she objects so strongly, she is immediately sequestered to the tower until the contest is over. Fortunately, Meg knows how to get out of a difficult situation, and its up to her to warn the witch, help the bandits, and take care of a relatively innocent young dragon before some of the less-than-honorable princes wreak havoc on the kingdom. Coombss good-natured tale is as comfortable poking fun at established fairy-tale tropes as it is honoring them. Readers will have no difficulty rooting for Meg, and the story as a whole is a pleasurable read with amusing details and witty twists. Pair this rousing adventure with Gail Carson Levines Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 1997).–Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In an attempt to replenish the treasury of Greve, King Stromgard offers his 15-year-old daughter Meg's hand in marriage to the prince who can rid the kingdom of a dragon, a witch, and some pesky bandits. The plan calls for Meg to be sequestered in a tower for the duration, a troublesome detail that she quickly circumvents with the help of several other palace teens. Together they rescue the dragon (a baby); warn the witch (receiving her help in return); meet a helpful young wizard; and discover that the bandits are really not as evil as everyone thinks. Coombs, who also wrote The Secret Keeper (2006), has created another strong heroine who eschews the trappings of her birth in the pursuit of truth, justice, and adventure. Reminiscent of Jean Ferris' Once upon a Marigold (2002) and M. M. Kaye's The Ordinary Princess (1984), this witty, humorous tale will be popular with fantasy buffs who enjoy takeoffs on fairy tales. Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Kate Coombs writes picture books, poetry, and middle grade fantasy novels. Her collection of ocean poems, Water Sings Blue, won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for 2012. Her first two picture books are The Secret-Keeper, an original folktale, and Hans My Hedgehog, a retelling of a Grimms' fairy tale. She has also written two comic fantasy books for 3rd through 7th graders, The Runaway Princess and its sequel, The Runaway Dragon. Kate has worked as a K-12 and college teacher and is currently Curriculum Director for a publisher of state history books. After spending most of her life in Los Angeles, Kate now lives in Utah, though she is embarrassed to admit she does not ski. Look for her next two picture books in Summer 2014: an Austen-inspired parody of Goodnight Moon called Goodnight Mr. Darcy and a rollicking face-off between the Tooth Fairy and a boy named Nathan in The Tooth Fairy Wars. Web address--www.katecoombs.com.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The story is upbeat and the author is very descriptive.
L. Hossler
I would highly recommend it to reluctant readers who have to read a longer book.
Kindle Customer
This book is a clever twist on any fairy tale you've ever known.
A. Gerber

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Linda Gerber on September 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
RUNAWAY PRINCESS isn't your grandma's fairy tale. The princess in the tower? Yeah. She has no intention of staying there. And all those witches, bandits and dragons? Misunderstood. Kate Coombs gives us a fresh take on the well-known fairy tale world with clever touches, endearing characters, and unique twists, all adding up to a delightful and entertaining read.

Following closely on the heels of Coombs' lovely debut book THE SECRET KEEPER, RUNAWAY PRINCESS does not disappoint. It's sure to become a favorite of discerning readers everywhere.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Gerber on September 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book was awsome! In my English class we had to pick a book for pleasure reading. I choose this one and believe me, it was PLEASURE reading. I couldn't put it down! The characters are so real and you find yourself rooting for them. This book is a clever twist on any fairy tale you've ever known. You'll find yourself laughing out loud and counting down the minutes till you can read it again. The twists, turns and halarious plot and characters make "The Runaway Princess" a must read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Trang Nguyen on January 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
For a story that involves a handful of cliché fairytale tropes—a princess in a tower, an old witch living in the wood, a menacing dragon who breathes fire and snacks on princesses (or so the legend said), not to forget the mysterious bandits running amok doing bandit things—"The Runaway Princess" can't be further away from your stereotypical damsel-in-distress tales. It's not only a delightful and refreshing fairytale-inspired adventure but it also delivers an empowering message to young female readers about being proactive and breaking out of the mold (and also, that legends don't always have it right.)

Kate Coombs has created a colorful cast of characters who are relatable and/or convincing in a light-hearted manner. The antagonists’ antics might make you chuckle at times, but they're still despicable and rapacious in ways that rile you up inside. Meg, the princess heroine, is really likable with her unassuming disposition and penchant for adventure. She doesn’t always make wise or sensible decisions through her quest, but that is totally expectable from a young girl, and a heretofore-sheltered princess. Furthermore, the story nicely features assorted types of female characters—the wayward princess, the demure queen, the loyal maid, the resourceful farmer's daughter, just to name a few. In spite of their differences, they're all capable and more than to meet the eyes.

Another thing I love about this book is that none of the characters is extraneous; each has their own tasks and role. That Meg isn’t the sole savior of the day. The ultimate victory is a collaborated effort as every character owes up to their faults and takes to actions.

Coomb’s prose is simple yet humorous, genuine and emotive.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on August 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've been reading books to place on a summer reading list for my fifth graders. This one is by far my favorite pure fun book. I would highly recommend it to reluctant readers who have to read a longer book. While it's long in page length, the language is definitely easy to comprehend. I could easily see this as a very entertaining movie.... one to which they don't have to take a lot of artistic license like they did with Ella Enchanted. They completely lost the flavor of the book with that movie... but that's another story. The great part about being an elementary teacher is that you get to read books like this! They don't take long at all for an adult to read in this time-crunched world, and they are just as entertaining for us as they are for kids. Enjoy!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By kc dyer on August 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Kate Coombs has done it again! Once again this gifted author takes a fairy-tale world and stands it on its head. Princess Meg stands up to her father and the Kingdom of Greeve will never be the same again. All the ingredients for a delicious romp through a world of wicked witches and fantabulous frogs await those clever enough to pick up this story. A winner!
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A Kid's Review on October 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Wow! What a great book. The Runaway Princess by Kate Coombs is a fun and exciting read. Meet Princess Margaret (Meg) of Greeve, the princess who didn't want to be a princess, Cam, one of her best friends, and apprentice gardener, and Dilly, Meg's other best friend, who also happens to be her maid. The story begins with Meg's father announcing that whoever rids the land of the three evils, The Dragon, The Witch, and The Bandits, shall win first place, the princess's hand and marriage, and become heir of the Kingdom of Greeve. Obviously, Meg is appalled, and tries furiously to end this long tradition. But, unfortunately her parents refuse, and lock Meg in a tower. This is definitely not the result Meg was looking for, and she wants out! With the help of several helpful persons, such as Cam and Dilly, she gets out. Thus begins the tale of the Runaway princess. Meg must travel the kingdom in hopes to win the contest herself; negotiate with a stubborn witch with a passion for amphibians (and the men they used to be), a baby dragon that comes under her care, a wizard in disguise, several nasty princes, a troop of bandits, and all the while pretend she is still in the tower! This book is similar to books by Gail Carson Levine such as Ella Enchanted, or, Fairest, though maybe for younger readers. I would recommend this book for ages 8-11, above that some of the writing may seem a bit easy to read, and less complex, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I loved this book, and would recommend it to anyone. It is a pleasurable read, one you would open on a rainy day, and not put down until you're done. The writing is enchanting, comical, and very descriptive, though at times it may seem a bit simple. But, the plot is witty and quickly changing. The end is sweet, if not a surprising, definitely not what I expected. As quoted from the end of the book, "Once upon a time, there was a princess who knew she meant for more than twirling her tresses and swooning." Enjoy!
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