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Garden Princess Hardcover – March 12, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-7-Everyone in the kingdom has heard about Lady Hortensia and her beautiful garden. The rumors say that every flower in it is always in bloom, but Princess Adela, a gardening expert and enthusiast, is sure that can't be true. When the princess's friend Garth receives a mysterious invitation to Hortensia's garden party, Adela arranges to accompany him. The plain-looking princess has never cared much for her looks, yet she can't help but notice that every guest is uncommonly beautiful or handsome. Wandering among flowers she knows shouldn't be in bloom, Adela learns the frightening secret of Hortensia's magic garden and finds herself in terrible danger. The story unfolds through the alternating viewpoints of Adela and Krazo, the enchanted magpie who manages to snag a few choice jewels from guests when he's not forced to do Hortensia's bidding. Short chapters keep the story moving, though the novel lacks well-developed characters and exploration of Hortensia's motives. Krazo has the most interesting character arc; while discerning readers will have guessed his identity early on, they will follow the story to see how his choices will affect the outcome. An intriguing backstory involving an ancestor of Adela's who banned belief in magic isn't pursued, but readers interested in a light romance with a touch of magic and mystery will find this a passable choice.-Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, ILα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Princess Adele, 17, has an affinity for flowers and gardens. So when the gardener’s son Garth is invited to visit Lady Hortensia’s famous, ever-blooming garden, Adele tags along. But the beautiful Hortensia is actually a witch who has been ensnaring her visitors for decades, transforming the girls into flowers and the young men into servants. She has even turned a thief, Edward, into a magpie, enslaved to do her bidding. Courageous Adele must use all her wits to outsmart Hortensia and free her victims. What could have been just another fairy tale hints at a rich backstory and sweeps the reader into a bewitching adventure. The book is neatly paced, particularly in the latter half, when the chapters alternate between Edward and Adele. A solid choice for reluctant readers, this clever tale has an open ending that paves the way for a sequel. Give this one to fans of Donna Jo Napoli. Grades 6-9. --Melissa Moore

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (March 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763656852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763656850
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,750,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup is an enchanting tale with a new twist on the traditional princess story. Princess Adela loves digging in the dirt and planting. She loves her garden more than anything in the world, and wishes someday to travel around and find new exotic plants. When her gardener friend Garth and her step mother's sister get invitations to the mysterious Lady Hortensia's garden party Adela knows she must crash the party. Lady Hortensia is said to have the most beautiful garden with flowers blooming all year long. This is too much of a temptation for Adela and so she sets off with her friends to Flower Mountain for what they all think is a simple garden party. When they arrive things are not at all what they seem. Flowers that should not bloom in the autumn are bright and beautiful, all of her guests seemed to mysteriously disappear, and a very strange magpie is following Adela around. It's up to Adela to get to the bottom of this mystery and save the day.

This was an exciting and beautiful story. The characters were engaging and likeable. While the backdrop and overall story were very simplistic they were written very well. This book also had a couple of great messages for young girls. One was to always be yourself, and the other was that when people really love you they love what's inside of you not by how you look. Adela was a great princess, and a great role model. She is not a perfect beautiful dull princess like her step mother wants her to be. She is very low maintenance, has a high self-esteem, is brave, and believes she can be more than just a princess. I would say girls ages 9-13 will really love this story, but adults like myself will also enjoy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
It had a beautiful set up, but the story fell short. The protagonist is repeatedly described as an average girl, and it seems to be a heavy theme in the story that looks aren't everything and that it's what's on the inside that counts. Then the protagonist proceeds to fall in love with a boy on looks alone and pines after him as if she even knows enough about him to love in the first place. It was really disappointing to see the central theme get stomped on half way through the book. In fact, the book should have ended in the middle when the main antagonist was defeated. It tied up every end and accomplished it's goal. Only it continued and the other half of the book proceeded to tear down everything that was built in the beginning. Even for a children's/young adults book, it's insulting to the reader. It's a decent book if you want a light read, but the book lacks character depth and shoots it's own theme in the foot.
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Format: Hardcover
Garden Princess is a wonderfully refreshing twist on the typical princess story. The main character is not perfect as all princesses tend to be. She is not over the top beautiful, nor is she particularly graceful. She can be stubborn, outspoken and a variety of other things that made me love her. She is low maintenance and proud to be exactly who she is.

This book reminded me of the simple, elegant classics of the past, but with a more updated and modern feel. The characters are sassy and the relationships they develop during the story are the type that you expect to last. I feel rewarded when the characters seem to be working toward a strong finish and in this book, they did.

What made me love this book so much, was the descriptive language of the author. She was able to set the stage for a truly magical story without ever boring me with an overload of pointless banter. The imagery that she produces with her words made me want to keep reading this forever. I could see the flowers and hear the material of the dresses crinkling.

This is a book that I could see a younger or older audience enjoying. There is romance, magic, animals, mystery and laughs to be discovered in these pages. If you love fantasy and magic you can't miss this one.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher.
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By sg word on February 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have now read this story many times and still get excited by the first page. A great set of characters who get tangled up in what seems to be an unbreakable spell.
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