Shannon Hale has just come out with a new book that she co-authored with her husband, Dean Hale, and is illustrated by LeUyen Pham - The Princess in Black. I am a big fan of Shannon Hale in general and had seen a lot of positive reviews, so I bought it for my daughter's 4th birthday. And it was a huge hit. Not only with my 4-year-old daughter, but also my 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. They all sat around listening intently and wanted to know when the next one comes out.
The Princess in Black is akin to Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson series - it is made up of short chapters and is filled with illustrations. It tells the story of Magnolia, a frilly and proper princess, but one who has a secret. She lives a double life as the Princess in Black, a monster fighting, black cape wearing, superhero. The story is filled with funny names such as "Duchess Wigtower" and the horse "Frimplepants." We also loved the sound effects assigned to the Princess in Black, such as "sparkle slam" and our favorite, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Smash."
LeUyen Pham's illustrations perfectly capture this Princess's dual personality with bright colors and a mixture of frilliness and awesome super-hero style.
I think this book is especially great for the younger crowd but as my two older kids kept grabbing the book to show their favorite part or illustration I think it clearly appeals to a wider audience.