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From the Once Upon a Tim series, volume 2

by Stuart Gibbs ; illustrated by Stacy Curtis

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-5344-9928-7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Princess Grace of Merryland needs rescuing again, forcing two young knights-in-training to face a series of challenges, from hungry cave sharks to a minotaur named Chad.

Actually, Princess Grace is perfectly capable of rescuing herself—again: see Once Upon a Tim (2022)—except that this time, kidnappers have stashed her in a room that’s locked and bolted on the outside…and in the middle of a maze billed, supposedly, as “the most complex and dastardly labyrinth in the world.” So it is that former peasants Tim and his more capable friend Bull—otherwise known as Belinda when she’s not disguised as a boy—plunge into a mess of dark and bewildering tunnels, armed with a ball of twine provided by the surprisingly sapient village idiot Ferkle, to face a series of deadly threats…though the most legendary of all turns out to be an amiable monster with the body of a bull and the head of, well, a dude. Throughout Gibbs’ lighthearted, laugh-out-loud tale, Curtis supplies proper notes of farce or stark terror as appropriate in flurries of line drawings that present most of the humans and the monsters with human features as White, though Belinda appears to present as Black. Along the way, Tim adds educational value to his narrative by flagging and then pausing to define vocabulary-building words like laborious and vexing.

A lighter-than-air blend of knightly exploits and rib-tickling twists.

(Fantasy. 10-12)