Royal sibling rivalry.
The Evil Princess torments her brother in fulfillment of her moniker, going so far as to select a book from the castle library entitled 101 Spells to Torment Annoying Brothers for inspiration. Her brother, for his part, tries to be brave, but the Magic Mirror, who acts in loco parentis throughout the story, sends them both to their rooms when their conflict gets out of hand. Once isolated, both children end up deciding that it’s no fun being evil or brave all alone. The Brave Knight suggests a quest, and they go to save “a damsel in distress across the moat” (their black cat, who is “perfectly comfortable,” napping in the bathroom). Alas, this brief episode of teamwork can’t overpower their historical rivalry: The Evil Princess pushes her brother into the bathtub, and he (finally) retaliates. “Their Magic Mirror was not amused,” reads the droll text, and they again must join forces—this time to clean up. This is sure to elicit laughs from readers through its humorous text and playful, cartoon illustrations that effectively employ such graphic-novel techniques as dialogue balloons and sound effects to amp the chuckles. The princess has light skin and straight, dark hair while the knight has brown skin and dark, tightly curled hair. The text never comments on this, instead focusing on their rivalry; in doing so, it provides a welcome, rare, and inclusive mirror for many children in similar families.
The Holm siblings strike again! (Picture book. 4-8)