Catie’s book review changed my mind about reading novels aloud and now I seek out appropriate early chapter books.
This search led me to give up another bias when I reconsidered Shannon and Dean Hale’s .The Princess in Black (Candlewick, ages 3-7). When the series launched last year, LeUyen Pham’s Disney-like illustrations didn’t speak to me and I thought the adventures of the princess who changes into a superhero were silly.
Now I’m a fan!
More than a year ago, Catie entered the world of princess worship. Her G’ma was utterly floored that a two years old knew all the words to Tangled‘s “Let It Go.” Since my eyes have been opened to the magic of the movie and it’s downside–the Princess Culture that captivates girls of all ages.
I understand the draw of flounces and jewels. I can still remember being small and enchanted by Sleeping Beauty dancing with the Prince, singing “I Waltzed With You Once Upon a Dream.”
But the feminist side of me flares and fears the implications of thinking fancy dresses are all-important and a prince will solve every problem. The Princess in Black series, however, merges all the girl-magnetic fluff with a tough, adventurous super heroine.
The pink-gowned Princess Magnolia has a large glitter-stone ring. But it’s not just a shiny bauble, its ring alerts the glass-slippered princess. Suddenly it’s time to stuff her pink gown into a broom closet, change into a black-suit and mask, slide down a secret chute, and mount her unicorn Frimplepants. Frimplepants transforms into Blacky, then he and the Princess in Black ride off to adventure, battling a goat-eating blue monster and touching off a reaction in the male goat herd who shows promise for fighting his stereotype in the future. All of this is done with a wonderful tongue-in-cheek tone and details that poke fun at cliches.
I’m guessing Catie will be come a fan. And if she does, I’ll send further adventures, for there’s just been a second title published, The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party (Candlewick, ages 3-5)