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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
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****For Biddle's Sake

by Gail Carson Levine

Illustrated by Mark Elliott

Reviewed December 21, 2002.
A Sonderbooks' Best Book of 2002 (#6, Young Adult and Children's Fantasy and Science Fiction)
HarperCollins, New York, 2002.  104 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF LEV).

Hooray!  Gail Carson Levine has two new Princess Tales out!  It’s a bit unfortunate that the series is called Princess Tales, since that might put off boys who would also love reading them.  In several cases, the main character is a boy, and I think they would be equally well-liked by boys, were it not for the title.

I’m a big enough fan of Gail Carson Levine that when I heard about these books, I immediately ordered signed copies from  (I’m hoping to get regular copies for the library in the near future.)  I was not disappointed.  After reading C. S. Lewis’ Of Other Worlds, I felt a need to turn to fairy tales.  These were exactly the dose of magic that I needed.

All of The Princess Tales are loose twists on another well-known fairy tale or two.  For Biddle’s Sake begins as a variation of “Rapunzel,” but ties in some ideas from “The Frog Prince.”

Our heroine is named Parsley.  If you know that “Rapunzel” is a German word for a kind of lettuce, this makes the connection clear.  When her father steals parsley from a wicked fairy’s garden to satisfy her craving, the girl ends up going to live with the fairy.  From a distance, she falls in love with Tansy, a misunderstood youngest prince.  After Parsley is accidentally turned into a toad, she is able to magically help Tansy on his three quests to win the right to inherit his father’s throne.

As all of the other Princess Tales, this story is funny, light and magical.  It’s quick and easy reading, full of fun little details that will make you laugh.  A refreshing treat.

Other books by Gail Carson Levine:
*****Ella Enchanted
****The Fairy's Return
Fairest audiobook

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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