A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Period vocabulary: "drawbridge," "lantern," "vial," "medallion," "amulet," "tapestry," "lancet," "livery." Period medical practices: bloodletting, cupping, mustard plasters.
Girls and princesses can be active and brave. People who love each other can help and support each other. When others try to harm us, we can deal with them firmly and protect ourselves.
Positive Role Models
Princess Annie is determined, brave, and physically active. When loved ones take ill, she doesn’t hesitate to help them. She's resourceful and overcomes obstacles. She and Prince Liam have an affectionately loving relationship, a supportive marriage of equal partners.
Violence & Scariness
A dragon fends off pirates by setting fire to their boat, though all are able to jump overboard. The dragon also subdues others by exhaling a poison gas, though its effect is temporary. Liam's evil brother, Clarence, gives him a sleeping potion, which wears off. Annie is pursued by a sea monster and an angry sea witch.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Princess and the Pearl is the sixth book in E.D. Baker's Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess series. It features an active and brave princess, Annie, who by this book is already married to Prince Liam. Annie has some magical powers but also succeeds by pure pluck and determination, and though she and Liam solve problems as a team, she's the one to save the day. These fantasy-adventure stories are an antidote to traditional stories about passive princesses who pine for their prince.
Is It Any Good?
For readers who gobble up series fare and crave princess stories, the sixth book in this fantasy series brings back its spirited, active princess protagonist and provides her with plenty of adventure. Though the series builds over the course of the books, readers who happen to jump in with The Princess and the Pearl will be able to follow the characters and backstory, and author E.D. Baker sprinkles in helpful reminders to reorient faithful fan readers. The book crams in a lot of action elements -- magic, dragons, pirates, a witch doctor, an evil queen, witches, a sea monster, and more -- though the pace of the movement sometimes slows.
One lovely aspect of the series is the genuinely supportive and egalitarian relationship modeled by Annie and Liam. True, Liam sometimes seems old-fashioned and overly solicitous of his bride, worrying about her safety and offering to go to battle to protect her. But Annie always dives into the action, bravely overcoming the many challenges thrown at her, and their relationship seems sweetly affectionate. This book and series is perfect for girls who like their princess trappings with a healthy dose of action-adventure.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.