The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare
Shannon Hale & dean Hale
Candlewick Press, 2018
96pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
On the outside, Princess Magnolia looks like the perfect princess – a pretty face, golden curls, sparkly tiara, glass slippers, and conventional-princess pink-on-pink ensemble – but she has a secret. Her castle is near a hole in the ceiling of Monster Land and so she frequently has to fight and vanquish the monsters that sneak out, and when she does so she turns into her alter ego, the Princess in Black. Whenever her glitterstone ring sounds an alarm that a monster is near, she dons a black costume even though “princesses don’t wear black”, presses a switch to turn her sceptre into a staff and jumps onto Frimplepants her unicorn who becomes Blacky her fearless steed whenever its glitterstone horseshoe rings!
In this, the sixth episode in this popular series, Princess Magnolia is excited and nervous because she is going to the Interkingdom Science Fair to present her poster about seeds and plants. When she arrives, she sees that her friends are there too, each with their own entry. Princess Honeysuckle has made a mole habitat, Princess Sneezewort has built a blanket fort, and Tommy Wigtower has a talking volcano that’s saying “EAAAAT!” Wait, what? Surely there are no monsters here! But a surprise goo monster makes this a job for the Princess in Black…
Combining princesses and superheroes, short chapters and lavishly illustrated, this is a popular series that young girls who are newly independent readers will like and look forward to as it offers protagonists who are resilient, resourceful, and inclusive.
For those who want to use this as a teaching tool to compare the stereotypical view of princesses with the new emerging picture there are some useful teaching notes available.