Monday, April 30, 2012

MONDAY: Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Benevolence wasn't supposed to be princess. Her uncle was the king and she was happy with her life away from the castle proper with her parents. But when the king is killed, along with Ben's mother, and her father is missing and presumed dead, Ben is next in line for the throne. Grieving and put out over all she has lost, Ben and the queen enter into an epic power struggle that leaves Ben locked in a tower cell. But that cell leads to a secret room where Ben begins to learn magic. And her new skills lead to an adventure that will change the direction of her life and will impact the future of her kingdom.

This was a great story! Beautiful language - more intricate than typical middle grade fiction. Frankly, it is more intricate than a lot of adult fiction. Ben is a sympathetic character at the beginning, but the transformation that comes through time, trial, insight and maturity is even more satisfying. Plenty of material for discussion at home or school - body image and weight, assumptions and pre-conceived notions about people, etc. Excellent story!

4.5 stars out of 5
AR level of 7.9

Recommended for: strong readers 6th grade and older, fans of prince/princess stories

Cautions: none

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