Review Blog

Dec 03 2018

The Princess in black and the science fair scare by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

cover image

Ill. by LeUyen Pham. Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763688271
(Age: 5-8.) Recommended. Who says feminists can't be princesses or wear pink? In this fantasy, Princess Magnolia and her multicultural sorority of Princesses, have entered the science fair. All of the impressive science projects seem to have outshone her own project - a poster titled, 'How Seeds Grow into Plants'. But the source of Magnolia's anxiety is Tommy Wigtower's talking volcano. Tommy has inadvertently created a potentially dangerous goo monster, which eats Magnolia's poster and proceeds to disrupt the science fair.
Princess Magnolia and Princess Sneezewort, in the guises of Princess in Black and Princess in Blankets, are joined by Princesses Honeysuckle, Orchid, and Snapdragon who help control the monster by relocating him to a bigger home. By the end of their adventure, all of the Princesses want alter-egos.
It's a struggle to contain the monster finally, but these burgeoning multiracial feminists are gracious in defeat and genuine in their praise of the Science Fair winner, vowing to try harder next time. Both mums and daughters will find that despite cute, Disney styled illustrations, Volume 6 of the Princess in Black series continues to place valour ahead of vanity and smarts ahead of glass slippers.
Deborah Robins

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