A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Fun fantasy meant to entertain, but good practice reading short chapters and getting to know familiar characters better. Mention of karaoke and ninja. Not-too-serious tips on "How to Be a Monster-Battling Hero." Some interesting vocabulary words, including "woozy," "twine," "llama," "quivered."
Working together as a team helps get the job done.
Positive Role Models
Both princesses are brave and care about protecting animals -- both goats and domestic pets. They're kind to each other (even though they sneak off to change into their superhero costumes and fight monsters). The Goat Avenger guards the goats and protects them from monsters while the Princess in Black is away.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoon violence: bashing and tying up monsters and shoving them back down the hole to Monster Land.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Princess in Black and the Mysterious Playdate, by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, is the fifth book in this series. Here, Princess Magnolia has a playdate with Princess Sneezewort, and they both secretly transform into monster-hunting heroes. There's also a new shape-shifting monster who hides by turning into things, such as a bush or a bench, and who tries to eat pets as well as goats. There are great messages about friendship and teamwork along with super silly fun.
Is It Any Good?
This wild and silly adventure has the added fun of a new partner in crime-fighting, as Princess Sneezewort creates her own monster-bashing identity, inspired by the Princess in Black. Somehow the two girls don't recognize their friend underneath the superhero costume, but teamwork rules and they get their monster in the end. Lots of cute and funny moments along the way, and a clever monster who can shape-shift into a bush, a rock, a treasure chest, and a bench. LeUyen Pham's illustrations are, as usual, a delight, especially scenes of the city where Princess Sneezewort's castle is.
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.