Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible is the first book in a quirky, brainy, sassy new graphic novel series from Dragonbreath creator Ursula Vernon. It hijacks the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale to tell the story of a 10-year-old hamster princess who upends most notions about princesses. She slays dragons, jumps off cliffs, and repeatedly trades posture-enhancing activities for character-building adventure. There's a whip-smart, tongue-in-cheek, wry tone to the book that makes it best for princess-tale veterans who can appreciate the gleeful shredding of traditional princess narratives, sarcastic jokes, and world-weary vibe.
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What's the Story?
Harriet Hamsterbone is 10 years old, and though she's always preferred adventure to traditional princess activities, news that a Sleeping Beauty-style curse will take effect when she turns 12 has her double-down on risky business. With the clock ticking, she takes off in pursuit of dragon slaying, jousting, cliff jumping, and assorted other wild adventures that test her invincibility and leave her parents in panic mode. But soon the day comes, and things get even more complicated with her entire kingdom at risk. Now she must rescue her loved ones, as soon as she tracks down a prince who's up for kissing 117 people.
Is It Any Good?
Told in sharp graphic novel style with quippy narration on every page, this fun twist on princess adventures is a fast, engaging read with a strong voice. With nonstop wryness, the rough-and-tumble protagonist of HAMSTER PRINCESS: HARRIET THE INVINCIBLE shatters traditional princess narratives. She fights, travels, takes risks, and shrugs it all off with an impossible cool that worries her parents to no end and leaves her restless for the next fun adventure. It's fun to see a poor prince who isn't so great at saving anyone, an evil fairy who provides more challenge than wickedness, and a humble queen who doesn't need to put on airs.
The sparkly cover and princess angle may draw princess lovers of all ages, but much of the wit may fly over the heads of younger girls (what 8-year-old will remember door-to-door salesmen, much less ones hawking cookbooks?). So don't be surprised if younger kids like the book but can't quite connect with all of it just yet.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about alternative princess stories, Why are they so popular?
Is Harriet Hamsterbone one of the most unusual princesses you've ever encountered? Why, or why not?
How does the ending upend most fairy tales?
- Author: Ursula Vernon
- Illustrator: Ursula Vernon
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Fairy Tales
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Dial Books
- Publication date: August 18, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 256
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: February 4, 2020
Our Editors Recommend
Would-be princesses show grit, wisdom in empowering tale.
The Wide-Awake Princess, Book 1
Offbeat princess tale values girls with skills over looks.
Palace of Stone: Princess Academy, Book 2
Exciting, complex sequel a mix of politics and compassion.
For kids who love spunky princesses and graphic novels
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