Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
Illustrator: LeUyen Pham
Princess Magnolia has a big secret. She is the Princess in Black that protects her kingdom from the monsters who want to cause trouble by eating the goats. Sometimes, though, she wants to have a regular life and do princess things, particularly on her birthday. Every time she goes to open presents with her party guests, the princess from other countries, her glitter-stone ring sounds an alarm to tell her that she needs to go fight a monster. She has to keep her guests from finding out that she is the Princess in Black by coming up with other activities, and finally it takes giving a monster a stern lecture before she is able to enjoy her birthday party the way she wants to.
This book is a mix between a picture book and a chapter book, including lots of pictures to break up the text, which could be useful for readers who want to read more advanced books but may not be quite there yet. Magnolia is an excellent character to show that girls can like pink and pretty things while still being the hero of the story fighting the bad guys. One of the most amusing parts of the book is the names for her fighting moves like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Smash” and “Tiara Trip”. For fans of the first Princess in Black or those new to these series, this book will be a hit to show how much princesses can really do.