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by Kate Coombs

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 2006
ISBN: 0-374-35546-0
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A delicious princess romp down the well-worn path first paved by The Practical Princess and followed by spunky royal girls ever since. Princess Margaret—Meg—is not at all interested in being bargained away with half the kingdom. She wants to save the dragon, warn the witch and rescue the bandits, while her father wants a gaggle of princes to vanquish them all in the name of economic development. A lot of tropes get stood on their heads here: Meg is imprisoned in a tower, for example, but doesn’t take long to wriggle out of it; alert readers will catch references to everything from The Wizard of Oz to Monty Python. Meg bonds with the dragon (only a baby), gets help from the witch (who has turned a great number of princes into frogs) and, assisted by her loyal friends Cam the gardener and Dilly the housemaid, bests a supercilious prince. The bandits, by the way, are led by a woman, and her handsome brother does a pretty good impersonation of a prince. The language is witty and tart and funny, the pace is quick and, in the end, Meg gets to study not only administration and diplomacy, but magic and swordplay. (Fiction. 9-14)