Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Julie Berry
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
The emperor has mysteriously disappeared from his bedchamber. Meanwhile, Begonia, a milkmaid, has her own problems. Her cow has disappeared and as always, she is the one who has to go find it. Leaving her mother and sister, Begonia travels the countryside, searching for Alfalfa, the rogue cow. Along the way, she meets many people pointing her towards the cow, and meets Key, a strange boy obsessed with romance. Vowing to rescue Begonia as a damsel in distress, Key joins Begonia on her quest. During all this time, three traitors have conspired to take over the empire and capture the vanished prince if he could be found. Everything comes to conclusion in traditional fairy tale fashion.
The beginning of this narrative was a little slow with overly involved syntax that made it difficult to read. However, once the story was in motion, the narrative became easier and more enjoyable. This story is loosely based on the fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes in that the emperor of the story is stupid and highly arrogant. The emperor, Lumi, however, learns as the story progresses and comes to realize what an emperor really ought to be. Similarly, Begonia grows as a character since she finds out that life is not as simple and easy as it once was, but she can ultimately choose to find happiness in life. The only character who did not grow was Key, who is endearing, although not as well developed as the other characters. Overall, the story is enjoyable modern fairy tale.