A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shannon Hale and Dean Hale's The Princess in Black, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, is a rollicking story of an adventurous princess who wears a pink frilly dress at home in her castle, then sneaks out to rid the kingdom of troublesome monsters as the brave and daring Princess in Black. Part of the plot involves her trying to keep her secret identity secret from the nosy Duchess Wigtower. The only violence is when a big blue monster grabs some goats and opens wide to eat them, and the Princess in Black fights him with her scepter after he uproots a tree and wields it like a sword. She then ties him up and persuades him to drop back down into his hole, where the other colorful, funny-looking (not scary) monsters live beneath the earth. Magnolia is a charming strong female character who defies convention ("Princesses do not run ... Princesses do not wear black") to be a superhero while keeping her diamond tiara on. This slim chapter book works well as either a beginning reader or a lively read-aloud. Other books in the series include The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party and The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Princess Magnolia has a huge secret she doesn't want anyone to uncover, especially not nosy Duchess Wigtower, who's come to her castle for tea. The secret is that when the monster alarm sounds, Magnolia slips into her closet, doffs her frilly pink princess dress, throws off her glass slippers, and changes into a black outfit of pants, boots, cape, and mask to become ... the Princess in Black, who keeps monsters in line. Her sparkly pet unicorn, Frimplepants, also transforms -- into Blacky, her faithful pony -- and together they ride off to stop a big blue monster from eating goats in the countryside. Can she get back to the castle before Duchess Wigtower figures out her secret?
Is it any good?
THE PRINCESS IN BLACK is an engaging adventure story with a can't-keep-her-down superhero at its heart. Authors Shannon Hale (Princess Academy) and Dean Hale keeps things fun and light and create a charming strong female character who's part Zorro, part Superman, part ninja. LeUyen Pham's illustrations are cute, funny, and action-packed.
The whole package is great for read-aloud or beginning readers. And the introduction of boy goatherd Duff, who dreams of fighting alongside the Black Princess as the masked Goat Avenger, leaves the door open for more adventures to appeal to both boys and girls.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Authors: Shannon Hale, Dean Hale
- Illustrator: LeUyen Pham
- Genre: For Beginning Readers
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Candlewick Press
- Publication date: October 14, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 5 - 8
- Number of pages: 96
- Available on: Paperback, Hardback
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
Our editors recommend
For kids who love princesses and strong female characters
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.