Zahler, Diane. A True Princess. HarperCollins, 2011. ISBN 9780061825019. $15.99. 182 p.
Reviewer: Tessa McMillan
Reading level: Intermediate, Young adult
Genre: Fiction; Fairy tales
Subject: Identity--Juvenile fiction; Princesses--Juvenile fiction; Voyages and travels--Juvenile fiction; Books--Reviews;
Lilia cannot concentrate on her chores at Jorgen’s farm, yet she loves spending time with Jorgen’s children, Kai and Karina. However, immediately upon overhearing Jorgen’s wife say that she wants to sell her, Lilia decides to run away, with Kai and Karina choosing to accompany her . They travel to the Northern Kingdom and through the dangerous Bitra Forest, where Kai is not the first child to be enchanted by the evil Elf-King and his daughter. To rescue Kai and the other children, the Elf-King tells Lilia to retrieve for him Odin’s magical clasp taken by Prince Tycho. Lilia and Karina go to the prince’s castle and discover that the prince is testing out potential royal brides by having them sleep on a pea. Lilia goes into the bedroom where the girls are supposed to sleep, and she not only finds the clasp, but that she is the lost princess of the Northern Kingdom. She meets with her royal family and tells them of her quest. She then enters Bitra Forest alone with Odin’s clasp, but the Elf-King does not honor their agreement. It takes Lilia summoning Odin to convince the Elf-King to keep his word. Kai and the children are released, Karina and Tycho marry, and Lilia is reunited with her family.
Zahler’s writing is pleasant, witty, and entertaining. She mixes the fairy-tale, “The Princess and the Pea,” with Goethe’s poem, “The Erl-King,” to create a well-developed, interesting story. Any child who loves princess stories will love this book.
Volume 31, no. 4 (March/April 2011)
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