Princess Harriet’s second outing takes on the “Twelve Dancing Princesses.”
Although hamster Harriet is, sadly, no longer invincible, having broken her curse in Harriet the Invincible (2015), she’s got a hero’s skills after her previous adventures. Seeking new excitement, she encounters a lonely old lady by the side of the road asking for food; genre-savvy Harriet quickly deduces that it’s a disguised fairy and complies. She’s rewarded with a quest to save 12 mouse princesses, cursed to slip away every night to a mysterious location where they dance right through their slippers. When Harriet suggests that they might like dancing (as she liked her curse) and that it would be rude to just go breaking it without asking them, the fairy tells her that Harriet’s kingdom too will face doom—at some unspecified point in the future—unless the curse is broken. Harriet arrives to find the mouse king a despot who inflicts his peculiar organizational whims on his subjects, such as militant matching and forced color coordination of clothing to each room. The princesses—who range in their enjoyment of femininity to stand as foils to tomboyish Harriet—don’t like dancing (anymore) or being trapped, clearing Harriet to save the day. While Harriet prizes her physical prowess, Vernon here allows her to show off her smarts as equally impressive.
Maintaining a keen balance between silly and sly, this sequel will have readers snickering. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-12)