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Princess Magnolia is back, and does she have some problems! It’s her birthday, and her princess friends have descended upon her castle to celebrate in style, but the monster alarm will not stop ringing. And to top it all off, her friend Princess Sneezewort may be about to uncover her big secret …
Like the first in this series, The Perfect Princess Party is fast-paced, funny and thoroughly enjoyable. The Hales and Pham know their readers: my co-reviewer, Yaya, who is now 5 and a half, loved the story and thought it was hilarious that every time Princess Magnolia was about to open her presents, she was interrupted by her monster alarm glitter ring. There is also age-appropriate suspense, as party guest Princess Sneezewort gets closer and closer to rumbling Princess Magnolia and her alter ego.
Pham has done another great job with the illustrations, and it is a nice touch that each of the visiting princesses is representative of a different ethnicity/culture. She manages to portray the frustration of the increasingly put-upon Princess Magnolia skilfully and amusingly. A huge hat-tip to publishers Candlewick Press, who have again published the book on high quality paper, in colour (my review copy is actually a hard back, with a dust cover – which is wonderful in a book that just hits 90 pages). I know I said this in my review of the original Princess in Black story, which you can read here, but it really does stand repeating. Candlewick Press are showing their readers (and authors/illustrator) a lot of respect with the high quality of the book – I hope they keep it up.
Christmas is coming, and either of the Princess in Black stories would be a welcome gift for readers aged 5 – 8 years old. The stories work both as read-aloud stories that can be shared, or books for children ready to start reading longer stories independently. I can’t recommend these stories enough.
The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party
by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Published by Candlewick Press