Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Cimorene finds the process of princess-ing uninteresting and prefers to learn magic, cooking, and fencing. These activities do not gain the approval of her parents, who quickly put an end to each and every pursuit. When they choose her a prince and set her wedding date, Cimorene reaches the end of her patience and sets off in pursuit of a new destiny. In order to get out of being a dragon's lunch, she becomes the servant of the dragon Kazul and finds adventure as she cooks, cleans, and practices magic. She befriends a witch, earns magic feathers and foils the plot of wicked wizards. She even tries her hand at match-making with princes in search of captive princesses to rescue. In the end she discovers a happy-ever-after that may suit her perfectly.
Well written and humorous at every turn, readers will find this book "enchanting". Cimorene has a very practical approach to her challenges. Her no-nonsense approach shows readers that there is no purpose to bemoaning one's situation and that you can almost always turn a difficulty into good fortune with some effort, knowledge, kindness and courage. The plot moves along at a proper pace with sprinkles of adventure and comic mishaps. The juxtaposition of traditional fairy tale motifs is a continuous source of humor throughout the story. Character development is not in-depth, but is sufficient to feel a bond with each major player. Cimorene's practical energy and methodology is her downfall as a princess, but her over-all defining success when she finds the right environment in which to set it loose. Children often think that circumstances must be accepted and Cimorene refutes that idea on almost every page. This is a wonderful book for those who love an adventure to fabulous and funny new places.