Sonderbooks Book Review of

The Princess in Black

and the Hungry Bunny Horde

by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

illustrated by LeUyen Pham

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The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde

by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Review posted March 1, 2016.
Candlewick Press, 2015. 90 pages.
Starred Review.

A third book about the Princess in Black! She’s a pretty and prissy princess in pink most of the time, but she has a secret identity – she’s the Princess in Black! She fights monsters with ninja moves!

As this book begins, Princess Magnolia is going about her ordinary business, ready to have a princessly brunch with her friend Princess Sneezewort. But then her glitter-stone ring rings! The monster alarm!

When the Princess in Black arrives at the goat pasture, where the hole leading to Monsterland opens, she doesn’t see anything scary. She sees a whole throng of fluffy purple bunnies.

The bunnies don’t look threatening. In fact, they look adorably cute. But there are hundreds of them. And they are terribly hungry. They eat all the grass in the goat pasture. Then they eat an entire tree. They eat a goat horn. They have their eyes on the Princess in Black.

In this case, it is Blacky the Pony (the secret identity of Frimplepants the Unicorn) who saves the day. The bunnies of the hungry bunny horde all speak the language of Cuteness.

Cute sniffles. Cute wiggles.

Cute hops. Only other cute animals could understand.

And that was why Blacky understood.

Because Blacky was not just Blacky the pony.

He was also Frimplepants.

Frimplepants the unicorn.

And Frimplepants the unicorn was as cute as they come.

This book came in at just the right time, when I was scheduled to read to a third grade class on Read Across America Day, and this book seemed perfect. Third graders might believe themselves to be too sophisticated for picture books (even though I know better). This book has 12 chapters and 90 pages. The text I quoted above covers three pages, and there are illustrations on every page (or at least every spread). So the book is accessible for someone who hasn’t been reading long but is ready for chapters – and there’s absolutely nothing boring about it.

And what I love about it is that the story is good enough that younger children who can’t read yet will love it, and older children who are completely capable of reading longer chapters will enjoy it as well. And adults won’t get tired of reading it either. There is much humor in the situation of cute bunnies creating such havoc.

Why should something easy to read and simple to understand be boring? The Princess in Black is the opposite of that.