by Dean and Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Candlewick, 2014. 90 pgs. Intermediate
Princess Magnolia, dressed in pinkety-pink-pink-pink is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when the call comes in on Magnolia's glitterstone ring (Brring! Brring!). A monster has invaded the kingdom and Princess Magnolia must swiftly and secretly ditch the duchess and become The Princess in Black, the masked crusader who alone can save the two frightened goats who are about to be swallowed by a large blue monster. The P in B has no problem driving off the monster; her trouble now is that the nosy duchess is searching the castle in her absence to discover whatever secrets she can (everybody has them) about Princess Magnolia. Magnolia hastens home, but too late to keep Duchess Wigtower from discovering a pair of black stockings! What to do? The Hales' sparkling early reader has a "whew!" of an ending, which young readers should discover with delight. Parents often ask for beginning chapter books that lie somewhere between easy readers and regular chapter books. The Princess in Black should fit that bill nicely, with many large colorful illustrations and an easily accessible text.