I love Shannon Hale as an author. I think the majority of her books are stupendous. I absolutely adore her Goose Girl series, and The Princess Academy books are fabulous (hello Newbery for a reason).
Therefore, when I came across this bad boy I was ecstatic to read it with my daughter. My 3 year old daughter and I have been reading the Mercy Watson series together. Both of these series are geared to the beginning/early reader. The book has larger font and a lot of pictures, but it isn't a picture book. The book is segmented into smaller chapters. You could say "Early Readers" like these books are geared to the kids that are just becoming independent readers. These books are great to foster that independent reading b/c they are a cross of chapter books and picture books.
Plus, my 3 year old isn't near independent reading, but she is getting better with reading longer stories. These early chapter books are great to read together with my toddler.
I gave Princess in Black by Shannon Hale 4 out of 5 stars. I told you I love Shannon Hale, and I really do love a great written and illustrated early reader. However, I felt as an "Early Reader" this book was just a tad off the mark.
The story really is fun and the illustrations are beautiful and perfect. However, the writing, mostly vocabulary, wasn't quite age/reading level appropriate. Usually, Early Readers are geared to those students just learning to read so right about first grade or lower second grader. However, some of the vocabulary and concepts/inferences were too high for that level of a reader. The story was written at a high second grade or low third grade level.
The Early Readers are usually geared to first graders, but this book would be hard for a 1st grader to completely comprehend. Therefore, the reason for the less than stellar rating.
Amazon had the following book review:
"In this atypical princess story, the refined and frilly Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with the proper Duchess Wigtower when suddenly the monster alarm sounds. As readers quickly find out, Princess Magnolia is actually the Princess in Black. She dons a black cape and ninjalike outfit to fights the monsters that come from Monster Land. Her superhero identity is top secret; Duchess Wigtower must not find out. While the Princess in Black wages battle, Duchess Wigtower snoops around her castle, always looking for evidence of the princesses' imperfections. Meanwhile, Duff the goat boy suspects the true identity of the Princess in Black and considers helping her. The colorful illustrations on each page help move readers through the story as the heroic princess saves the day. The action-packed text in this beginner chapter book will enthrall and is ideal for independent reading or reading aloud. The ending leaves readers with just enough of a wink to hint at a future installment. Give this engaging read to fans of "Bink and Gollie" (Candlewick)."
All in all, Princess in Black is a fun read for a little girl. You could read this along with your 1st grader, or your 2nd/3rd grade girl will love to read this book on her own.
Happy Princess/Ninja dominating reading!
Have you or your child read it? What did you think?