Monday, May 08, 2017

Our favorite princesses are BACK!


Vernon, Ursula. Giant Trouble (Hamster Princess #4)
May 9th 2017 by Dial Books
Copy provided by the publisher.

Harriet is enjoying her newfound ability to return to cliff diving when a gerbil in a dark cloak approaches her to try to sell her a handful of beans. That's one of the downsides of being a famous warrior princess "cloaked figures are always jumping out at you from behind bushes". Harriet knows better than to trade Mumphrey for the beans, but Mumphrey eats one. The gerbil disappears in a puff of smoke, and Harriet hopes for the best. However, the bean makes its inevitable way out of Mumphrey and ends up growing into a giant beanstalk on the castle grounds. There's no way to chop it down without devastating the surrounding countryside, so Harriet makes her way up the stalk and discovers a harpster (hamster/harp) and a golden goose who are being held captive by a giant lop eared rabbit. In typical Harriet fashion, she goes about freeing them, with the eventual help of Wilbur.
Strengths: Harriet's fractured fairy tale adventures should be required reading for younger students, but have enough sophisticated humor that they make older ones laugh as well. I adore Harriet's spirit and can-do attitude. Stinky monster shoelaces that need to be chewed to unknot them? Harriet knows it's all in a day's work and just gets it done. She's a great role model of feisty attitude and a much needed antidote to the traditional Disney-esque princess trope. Harriet doesn't need to be saved by anyone, although she does occasionally accept help in a pinch!
Weaknesses: I have a lot of success in getting boys to read these, but the sparkly, pastel covers do work against their success with boys.
What I really think: If I had small children to whom I needed to present gifts, this series would be at the top of my list. As it is, I love having them on hand to give to reluctant middle school readers.

Blog Tour for Hamster Princess!

Ursula Vernon
May 9 – Doodlemom’s Homeschooling Life – Review + Craft
May 9 – Ms. Yingling Reads – Review
May 10 – Adventures in Homeschooling – Review
May 10 – Four Violet – Review + Craft
May 11 – The Delightful Life
May 11 – All Done Monkey – Q&A
May 13 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Review

31371284 Levine, Gail Carson. The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre
(The Two Princesses of Bamarre 0.5)
May 2nd 2017 by HarperCollins
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Lady Peregrine is a Lakti, and her mother has taught her that the Bamarre are far inferior to her people in many ways, even though her loyal servant, Annet, is Bamarre. Soon, however, Perry learns secrets from the fairy Halina that make her doubt her entire existence. Still, she accompanies her father on a mission to her father's military headquarters, armed with several magical implements that her mother has given her. Among them are seven league boots, as well as a pendant that could keep her safe during fighting against the Kyngoll's her father is facing. Unfortunately, she needs these devices when she is captured, but her fate is not what she suspected. She ends up in a situation where she learns that her deep seated prejudices are unfounded, that her family is not comprised of the people she has known and loved for years, and that the fate of the Bamarre may rest with her.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this story, and I don't want to give away anything in this prequel to The Two Princesses of Bamarre (2001). Even though it's been a long time since I read that one, I was quickly drawn back into that world. It was good to see the magical keepsakes again, and to discover the origin story of one of the important characters discussed in the first book.

Perry is an intriguing character who must deal with a lot of conflicting ideas about her identity and her family. She meets these challenges in a realistic way-- she is reluctant to embrace them at first, but slowly comes around to her new reality and is able to champion a new cause. She also encounters magic for the first time, and finds it surprising. She also has a tentative romance, which is never a bad thing in an adventurous fantasy.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre was one of my daughter's favorite books in middle school, and I know that she is very excited to see this new journey into that world. Readers who loved Wrede's Enchanted Forest or Pierce's Tortall, as well as the princess tales of Baker, Green and Zahle, will definitely want to step out with Perry... in her seven league boots!
Ms. Yingling


  1. Princess day today. I love the cover of The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre. Beautiful. Thanks for telling me about these. I will try to check them out.

  2. Both of these sounds really good. I'm a big Gail Carson Levine fan, and I've been waiting for the prequel to The Two Princesses of Bamarre for awhile. And it has seven league books! I can't wait to get my hands on this one.