The Princess and the Pearl: A Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess, Book 6

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
The Princess and the Pearl: A Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess, Book 6 Book Poster Image
Pace slows even among witch doctor, pirates, sea monster.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Period vocabulary: "drawbridge," "lantern," "vial," "medallion," "amulet," "tapestry," "lancet," "livery." Period medical practices: bloodletting, cupping, mustard plasters.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.

Language

What 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.

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What's the story?

THE PRINCESS AND THE PEARL continues the tale of Princess Annie and Prince Liam, who recently married. Just before they're about to be crowned king and queen, Annie's father and uncle take sick with a serious and strange illness in which their bodies start to turn blue. Annie determines to find a cure and seeks out a powerful witch doctor she's heard about, Ting-Tang, who tells her what to do. The trip to the witch doctor in Skull Cove involves a sea trip, the help of dragon friends and fairies, and plenty of obstacles, many posed by Liam's spoiled brother Clarence and his pirate accomplices. At last Annie reaches the witch doctor, who sends her to retrieve a large pearl that will cure her father and uncle.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the active princess in The Princess and the Pearl. How is Annie different from other princesses you've read about or seen in movies?

  • How does Annie use magic to help her solve problems? How does she use human traits and abilities?

  • What kind of relationship do Annie and Liam have? How do they help and support each other?

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