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The Princess Tales, Volume I (Princess Tales


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About the Author

Gail Carson Levine's first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Ever, a New York Times bestseller; Fairest, a Best Book of the Year for Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and a New York Times bestseller; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; A Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, as well as the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie. Gail Carson Levine and her husband, David, live in a two-centuries-old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley of New York State. Mark Elliott is the illustrator of many picture books and novels for young readers, including Gail Carson Levine's ever-popular Princess Tales series. He lives in New York State's Hudson River Valley.


Gr 3-6-Gail Carson Levine combs the fairy tale archives for raw material, then weaves her own sly versions, producing retellings shot through with farcical wit, role-reversal, and empowered heroines. The six novellas that comprise The Princess Tales all take place in the Kingdom of Biddle, a land where the traditional fairy tale is turned on its head while retaining the habitual happy ending. Levine, who received the 1998 Newbery Honor award for Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 1997), captivates both voracious and reluctant readers with these lively retellings. In The Fairy's Mistake (1999), an adaptation of "Toads and Diamonds," Ethelinda finds that her fairy curse is unintentionally beneficial to the bad sister while harming the helpful one. "The Princess and the Pea" is renewed in The Princess Test (1999) as a romance where a blacksmith's daughter finds true love by outclassing royalty and winning the prince. Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep (1999) revives the "Rapunzel" tale and presents a heroine who chooses the terms of her enchantment. Cinderellis and the Glass Hill (2000) knits together the well-known "Cinderella" and the obscure "The Glass Hill," to craft the tale of a downtrodden male protagonist who wins the love of the princess. Young listeners may not know the story of "Puddocky," but they will recognize that a girl-turned-into-a-frog must have the kiss of the prince to break the spell in For Biddle's Sake (2002). The Fairy's Return (2002), the story of a princess and a commoner who find love, uses word play, riddles, and jokes to refresh the story of "The Golden Goose." Actress Lili Taylor narrates the tales in a breezy, conversational manner. There is little vocal differentiation between characters, yet the deliberate pace of phrasing supports listeners in following the thread of the story. Each tape is introduced and concluded with a lively unifying musical theme, and the overall aural quality is clear and sharp. Libraries will want to order The Princess Tales, Vol. I (HarperCollins, 2002), the compilation of these individual titles, to provide a print companion to the audio presentation. Eager listeners will be delighted with Levine's ingenious spin on familiar yarns.-Mary Burkey, Grandview Heights City Schools, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Grand entertainment."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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