The Princess in Black

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
The Princess in Black Book Poster Image
Fun tale of monster-fighting princess who leads double life.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Defines what's expected of a conventional princess, then portrays a princess who defies convention. 

Positive Messages

You don't have to live up to society's expectations of you -- especially if you're a girl or a princess. Be all that you can be. Save creatures in trouble, especially ones menaced by monsters. Be brave in service to others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Princess Magnolia is fearless and brave. She sneaks around and fools her guest Duchess Wigtower, but it's for a good cause: saving her subjects and their goats from monsters. Duff the goatherd wants to be brave and fight alongside the Princess in Black and shows his determination and creativity in creating his own superhero costume to be the Goat Avenger. 

Violence & Scariness

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. 

Language

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byrebma97 August 14, 2015

Cute superhero tale

The Princess in Black is a nice, short read for youngsters. They'll likely to enjoy the illustrations and superhero themes. There is very, very mild violen... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 and 6 year old Written byAnneAbsMom July 16, 2016

Great series!

My 5 year old sits to listen to this"chapter book" because of the wonderful pictures that go with it, and she enjoys the characters in the story. Prin... Continue reading
Kid, 7 years old February 27, 2015

fast fun book

It is nice for a family book. I like when she acted like a ninja because she had cool moves with good names. It is cute when she turns back into a princess. I r... Continue reading

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 ...

  • Families can talk about supererheroes' secret identities. Is it OK to keep secrets and fool others for a good cause? 

  • How is The Princess in Black different from other princess stories you've read or seen? 

  • Which illustration is your favorite, and why? 

Book details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love princesses and strong female characters

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