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Princess of the Wild Swans Hardcover – January 31, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Fans of Jessica Day George and Gail Carson Levine will enjoy Zahler’s light, lyrical prose, as well as her stalwart and true heroine and strong secondary characters, all of which make this fairly straightforward retelling of Grimm’s “The Six Swans” fun to read.” (Booklist)

“As with her other fairy-tale interpretations, Zahler shines in her ability to set an exquisite scene.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“Engaging and entertaining. A pleasant magical outing.” (Kirkus Reviews)

A suspenseful climax leads to a happy conclusion. Fans of Gail Carson Levine’s “Princess Tales” series who are ready for something longer and more novelistic will love this tale (School Library Journal)

From the Back Cover

Princess Meriel’s brothers have been cursed. A terrible enchantment—cast by their conniving new stepmother—has transformed the handsome princes into swans. They now swim forlornly on a beautiful heart-shaped lake that lies just beyond the castle walls.

Meriel will do whatever it takes to rescue her beloved brothers. But she must act quickly. If Heart Lake freezes, her brothers will be forced to fly south or perish.

With help from her newfound friends Riona and Liam—a pretty half-witch and her clever brother—Meriel vows to finish a seemingly impossible task. If she completes it, her brothers may be saved.

But if she fails . . . all will be lost.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062004921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062004925
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #845,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Zahler does a magnificent job of reworking this classic tale with a strong female lead. Her language is evocative and poetic, and the story moves along at a rapid clip. I recently read this book to my three children (ages 6, 8 and 11), and received three thumbs up. Better yet, I enjoyed it myself. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler is a retelling of the Six Swans. The story follows Meriel the only daughter in the kings household. She adores her brothers and when her father comes home with a new wife who seems to resent their existence Meriel becomes worried. After the new Queen sends her brothers to school Meriel is suspicious. When she finds a new group of swans on the lake that seem like her brothers she knows that something is wrong. She soon finds out that they've been enchanted and she must make them shirts out of stinging nettles and remain silent until the task is done.

This is a wonderful retelling. Zahler does a fantastic job with these retellings in a way that makes them perfect for the middle grade readers who love princesses but have no desire to read a romantic story. This book is full of magic, suspense and girl power. I finished the book quickly and had a huge smile on my face when it was over.

Appropriateness: This is a fantastic middle grade book that is also great for younger advanced readers. The story is fun and interesting full of evil queens and princesses without the usual romance that you would find in fairytale retellings. There is some nice vocabulary the lexile is 819. I would recommend this book to readers 9-13 with the book being short and interesting enough for a read aloud.
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Format: Hardcover
What an enchanting read! I love a well written fairy tale re-telling and Diane has done a wonderful job with her story of Meriel and her brothers whom are all turned into swans. I really enjoyed being swept away with the classic fairytale aspect of this story. There's magic, danger, a lovely, well written innocent romance, witches and fey lore. Plus I love that it takes a Princess and good hearted towns people to bring down a wicked, evil witch.

Princess Meriel is a fabulously written, strong young female heroine who will everything she can to save her father the King, her brothers and their kingdom from the evil Queen. I loved the transformation she has through out the story. She starts off being a little spoiled, and very stubborn (which I also admired about her) and becomes a fearlessness, courageous Princess who will stop at nothing to help her family. I also admired the fact that she felt she had the right to do whatever her brothers were doing. It's that feistiness that helps Meriel accomplish a nearly impossible task to save her brothers.

Aside from Meriel, I really loved the characters in this story. Liam and Riona, the brother and sister duo who aid Meriel in her quest to save her brothers and break the evil Queen's spell were two of my favorites. I found them to be just as strong as Meriel. I also enjoyed getting to know Mistress Tuileach. I thoroughly enjoyed Diane's exciting story line which is full of surprising twists and turns that kept me guessing what was going to happen next. This is a fabulous read for middle grade readers and for fans of MG books. If you're a fan of fairy tale re-tellings I highly recommend picking up this charming read.
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Format: Hardcover
With this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Wild Swans," Zahler is becoming the go-to author for middle grade fairy tale retellings. (Well, Zahler and Jessica Day George!) Her previous outings include a retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" called The Thirteenth Princess and a retelling of Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea" called A True Princess.

As in the other two books, our heroine is a tween, this time 12-year-old Meriel. She and her five older brothers are surprised when the king their father comes home from a journey with a new queen, coldhearted Lady Orianna. The lady is surprised, as well--in the course of her whirlwind (read: calculating) romance, she had not realized her new husband had five sons. This puts a cramp in her plans to have a son and put him on the throne. Orianna transforms the five princes into wild swans, and it is up to Meriel to save them. As you may recall from the original tale, this means Meriel must weave five shirts out of nettles before it's too late. (It's eleven brothers and shirts in Andersen's story, but this is a minor change.) In addition, Meriel must not speak a word while she makes the shirts.

Rather than sending the princess to a foreign land and introducing her to a prince who wants to wed her, as in the original story, the author keeps Meriel around to continue challenging the witchy queen. Fortunately, there are other, nicer witches (or half-witches) around, and they help Meriel. She'll need all the help she can get, especially since the author introduces a new threat--apparently Orianna has been wheeler-dealing with the fay. The ending may be a foregone conclusion, but it's nice to see how Meriel's struggle with the evil queen plays out.
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