****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
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 BooksOfWonder.com.
(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
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:
****The Fairy's Return
Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.
All rights reserved.