In her frilly pink dress, Princess Magnolia is a prim and proper young lady. She never high jumps over castle walls or slides down secret chutes and she never, ever wears black. But, when trouble calls, Princess Magnolia transforms into the monster-hide-kicking-hero, the Princess in Black. With a sparkle smash and a princess pounce, the Princess in Black saves many a hapless goat from being eaten by the terrible inhabitants of Monster Land. Duff the goat boy is always grateful for the Princess in Black’s help and he dreams of fighting by her side as the magnificent Goat Avenger. The wit and action of this book will be enough to draw both boy and girl readers in, but the promise of Duff’s future adventures as the Goat Avenger will also appeal to boys.
As a read aloud book, adults will likewise delight in the cleverness and fun The Princess in Black offers. Many adults might also recognize some similarities to The Powerpuff Girls or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The obvious commonalities include female main characters and a delight in both the ultra feminine as well as in the action hero. The one issue with this book may be that some readers find the fact that Princess Magnolia keeps her alter ego a secret problematic. However, the fun of eluding the nosy Duchess Wigtower is too good to pass up.
For young readers looking for beginning chapter books, The Princess in Black is definitely a cut above many other books targeted toward the same group. Not only does it feature a fun and original story but, it also makes good use of appropriate vocabulary and stellar illustrations (I’m already planning my own Princess in Black costume, complete with tiara and bandit mask). The best part however, is that there’s no need to wait for Princess Magnolia’s continuing adventures. Volume 2, The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party is already available. Volume 3, The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde is expected to be released in February 2016.