Princess Betony and the hobgoblin by Pamela Freeman
Ill. by Tamsin Ainslie. Walker Books. ISBN 9781921720260
(Age: 6-9) Highly recommended. The 4th in the delightful series starring Princess Betony is another winner that will be enjoyed by all. Princess Betony is not your average princess - she loves gardening and is very curious. When her governess Lady Pineal decides that milk should not be left out for the hobgoblin who lives in the garden, chaos results as the hobgoblin is not happy and Rosie the gardener is not around to sort things out. When the hobgoblin is captured and imprisoned, Princess Betony and Basil the baker's boy have to work out a way to stop an invasion from his hobgoblin friends.
This is a perfect series for young readers who are just starting to read chapter books. Princess Betony is a courageous girl who loves to solve problems, go exploring by herself and learn about magic from the court sorcerer. On one of her adventures in the underground burrows, searching for the hobgoblin, she inadvertently leads to his capture and she knows that she has to do something to make things right. She is ably assisted by the baker's boy who is a quiet, sensible lad willing to do his best to help the hobgoblin.
This would make a good read aloud with its great characterisation and humorous incidents and with the other books in the series, would be a great way of moving children from picture books onto chapter books. The line drawings by Tamsin Ainslie are very appealing and add to the humour of the story. Readers can go to the Princess Betony website for information about the other books in the series, games and stories.