The Princess in Black and the Mermaid Princess

Candlewick. (Princess in Black: Bk. 9). Feb. 2022. 96p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781536209778.
K-Gr 3–They’ve done it again! In this ninth installment, the Hales have brought back all the elements young readers love about the “Princess in Black” series—heroes in disguise, hungry monsters, imperiled goats, and ninja skills—but this time, they’ve set their story underwater, added a mermaid princess, and included a powerful message of speaking up to help others. The story begins with the three heroes sailing on Princess Sneezewort’s ship. The Princess in Blankets would like to battle sea monsters while the Princess in Black is hoping to see a mermaid. Before long, they do meet beautiful mermaid Princess Posy, and the Princess in Black is gushing and giddy. The three friends enthusiastically offer to help the nice, but very worried, mermaid protect the capricorn (sea goats) from the krakens. Unfortunately, they discover that their monster-fighting moves are practically useless underwater. As she is drifting upside down, the Princess in Blankets lets Princess Posy know that she has the ability to protect the sea goats, assuring her that speaking up helps others. Princess Posy busts out some new ninja moves and sends the kraken packing. Afterward, she feels amazing and soon has her undersea kingdom in order. She even finds time to play with her new friends, which includes some throwbacks to previous installments. The Princess in Black is white, and her friend group is diverse.
VERDICT With appealing new characters, lively language, an abundance of exclamation points, and a lush pastel-toned undersea kingdom, young readers will eagerly dive into this latest series adventure.

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