A tomboy princess wishes to become a knight.
Don’t call her Princess Serena—self-styled Princess Pulverizer is the Royal School of Ladylike Manners’ pre-eminent troublemaker, and she would rather learn to fence than dance. She begs her kingly father to let her attend Knight School. The king—skeptical due to her temperament rather than her gender—will allow it only after she demonstrates knightly virtues. “Even she knew that honor, kindness, and sacrifice weren’t exactly her strong points.” He sends her on a Quest of Kindness, requiring eight good deeds (with proof—the king knows she would cheat if she could). After her first attempt at kindness is a comedic flop, Princess Pulverizer hears of a queen whose jewels have gone missing. She deduces that an ogre must be the culprit and sets off to retrieve the jewels by purposefully getting captured. Getting out isn’t as easy as in, though. Cowardly Knight School dropout Lucas and his friend Dribble, a dragon ostracized because he’d rather cook grilled-cheese sandwiches than terrorize villages, attempt a rescue but with no success—the three outcasts must team up for a gassy escape solution. In the spot illustrations, animator Balistreri plays up the slapstick action and character expressiveness; Princess Pulverizer and her family appear to be white, while Lady Frump and other side characters are depicted with darker skin.
A wacky adventure that stands out through highlighting its heroine’s foibles, giving her plenty of room to grow in future installments. (Fantasy. 6-8)