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The Princess in Black Paperback – April 14, 2015
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—In this atypical princess story, the refined and frilly Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with the proper Duchess Wigtower when suddenly the monster alarm sounds. As readers quickly find out, Princess Magnolia is actually the Princess in Black. She dons a black cape and ninjalike outfit to fights the monsters that come from Monster Land. Her superhero identity is top secret; Duchess Wigtower must not find out. While the Princess in Black wages battle, Duchess Wigtower snoops around her castle, always looking for evidence of the princesses' imperfections. Meanwhile, Duff the goat boy suspects the true identity of the Princess in Black and considers helping her. The colorful illustrations on each page help move readers through the story as the heroic princess saves the day. The action-packed text in this beginner chapter book will enthrall and is ideal for independent reading or reading aloud. The ending leaves readers with just enough of a wink to hint at a future installment. Give this engaging read to fans of "Bink and Gollie" (Candlewick).—Nancy Jo Lambert, McSpedden Elementary Frisco, TX --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
This charmingly told book has lovely old-fashioned illustrations and a great message: You can’t judge a princess by the color of her gown.
—New York Times Book Review
The rounded, cartoony illustrations featuring chubby characters keep the fight sequence soft and comical. ... The gently ironic text will amuse readers (including adults reading the book aloud). The large print and illustrations expand the book to a longish-yet-manageable length, giving newly independent readers a sense of accomplishment. ... Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out?
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The authors of "Rapunzel’s Revenge" and "Calamity Jack," writing here for a slightly younger audience, successfully turn the treacly princess genre on its ear, offering beginning readers a clever, adventurous, and self-reliant heroine who is equally at home in black or pink. Pham’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations, rendered in the style of the Disney classics, effectively contrast Magnolia’s identities and emphasize the text’s humor. Clever details (Duff and his goats eat popcorn on the sidelines as they watch the PIB do her thing) and short manageable sentences make for a promising, and sure to be wildly popular, new series debut.
—Booklist (starred review)
The Hales translate the humor and adventure that characterize their Rapunzel’s Revenge into prose form for a younger audience with aplomb and wit, giving amusing nods to both the Disney princess tradition and the superhero genre. Short sentences, a simple vocabulary with the occasional challenge, a manageable length, and a near picture-book level of illustrative density give this chapter book immense accessibility. Pham’s watercolor and ink art has a goofy cartoonishness, with the Princess’s doe-eyed damsel figure contrasting entertainingly with her ninja-like moves, and the monsters themselves are a parade of wacky Muppet-like creatures. Whether they prefer pink sparkles or superhero capes, readers, especially newly independent ones, will find themselves anxiously awaiting the next installment of the PIB’s adventure.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
The colorful illustrations on each page help move readers through the story as the heroic princess saves the day. The action-packed text in this beginner chapter book will enthrall and is ideal for independent reading or reading aloud. The ending leaves readers with just enough of a wink to hint at a future installment. Give this engaging read to fans of "Bink and Gollie".
—School Library Journal
The Hales drop narrative breadcrumbs throughout the story, setting up subsequent titles in the planned series, and they build comic tension by alternating scenes of the masked princess’s monster-fighting with ones starring Duchess Wigtower, who Princess Magnolia has left waiting back at her castle, and who has a fondness for uncovering secrets.... Pham offers little jolts of energy and wit on every page, with full-page and spot illustrations that have the vivaciousness and irreverence of contemporary animation.
Finally, a book for kids where a princess saves herself. ... Kids will love meeting this new non-traditional princess who bucks the stereotype of princesses past.
This charming begining chapter book will please princess and action fans alike.
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
For readers who love "all things princess," it provides a fabulous vision of how the definition of a role can expand.
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Top customer reviews
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I recalled reading about Shannon Hale's new book for younger readers. I liked what she'd done with Princess Academy, so I thought I would give it a go for my girl. I did not anticipate the amount of love this book would receive - she cried when she had to give it back to the library (the request list is still long here). She decorated her pumpkin for a school contest to look just like the Princess in Black.
I surprised my daughter with her own copy this last week, and her eyes just lit up. The book currently lives under her pink pillow. My girl LOVES pink, and princesses, and superheroes. This book is NOT about rejecting princesses, or even rejecting the pinkness of girls. This book is about being a hero and saving the day.
This is Zorro for little girls. Princess Magnolia - pink clad perfection in her castle - The Princess in Black when danger lurks in the kingdom!
Give it a chance. My three year old boy loves this book and we look forward to another, especially if it features the Goat Avenger. :-) And more monsters to fight! My two year old daughter has been running around saying the Princess in Black's signature move: Twinkle, Twinkle, SMASH! It's a book our whole family loves.
This is a fairly long book so I wasn’t sure I could keep my toddler’s attention to complete the book. I figured we would read this over the span of a few days. However, my daughter was so excited and interested in the story that it maintained her attention to finish the entire book in one sitting. Since then, she has asked for me to read this book several times a week.
I appreciate that the story’s theme allows for the reader (or child you are reading it to) to see that the main character can be both a princess and a superhero! The message and the moral of the book are inspiring and I really like that. It’s well written, easy to read and a nice flow. There are some nice illustrations and a brief amount of text on each page, so as you turn through the pages, it keeps the listener’s attention. Will certainly purchase more from this series.
Then I brought it home and read it aloud to my five year old daughter who absolutely LOVED them. We read them all (again),
Our public library happened to have a Princess in a Black event this summer - my five year old was too excited. We went and she was able to talk all about the books with the "bigger girls".
The bright colorful illustrations do assist as context clues. There are also lots of opportunities for predicting/inferring.
While this series may not go down in history as great literature of our time - it got two different aged girls (5 & 9) to enjoy reading. That's a success in my eyes! We can't wait for the next book to come out in September!