A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party is the second in the Princess in Black chapter book series by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, but it easily works as a standalone. Book 1 introduced Princess Magnolia, who leads a double life, bravely -- and secretly -- sending goat-eating monsters back underground to Monster Land after her glitter-stone ring sounds the alarm. In this story, she's repeatedly summoned, causing repeated delays in opening presents at her birthday party.
What's the story?
Princess Magnolia is all set for the perfect birthday party when her glitter-stone ring sounds the alarm that there's a monster attack. She must dash into the broom closet, change out of her puffy pink dress and glass slippers, and get into her Princess in Black pants outfit and boots, jump on her faithful pony, Blackie (after he removes his Frimplepants the unicorn disguise), and fight the monsters that are trying to eat the goats that Duff the goat boy is watching over. The alarm summons her several times, each time delaying when she can open her presents with her party guests. Will she ever get to open them?
Is it any good?
This cute follow-up to the first book should please girls who love imagining a princess party and also enjoy seeing a female superhero fight monsters. The almost-finding-out-her-secret plot is not as original as it was in the first one, however. In Book 1, the nosy Duchess Wigtower almost discovers Princess Magnolia's double life. In this one, it's one of her party guests, Princess Sneezewort. But there's plenty to enjoy in LeUyen Pham's colorful illustrations, including the array of diverse, decked-out princesses and the different monsters' approaches to eating goats -- between giant pieces of bread in a sandwich, in a giant bun like a hot dog, and stuffed in a giant ice cream cone. And it's clever how increasingly tired and disheveled the Princess in Black looks as the day goes on.
The one twist is a monster giving her jewels when he finds out it's her birthday -- and her in turn giving them to her guests who've been waiting so long.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about birthday parties. What's the most fun part? The games, the cake, opening presents, dressing up for the party, or being with friends?
Did you read The Princess in Black? How do you think this story compares? Would you like to read about more of the princess' secret adventures?
Do real-life princesses do more than dress up and have parties? What other kinds of things do they do? Do you think they need to be brave?
- Authors: Shannon Hale, Dean Hale
- Illustrator: LeUyen Pham
- Genre: For Beginning Readers
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Horses and Farm Animals, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Candlewick Press
- Publication date: October 13, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 5 - 8
- Number of pages: 96
- Available on: Paperback, Hardback
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