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Publisher: Eos, an imporint of HarperCollins Children's Books
Summary: Prince George knew the legend of King Richon, a cruel king who killed animals for pleasure and who, ultimately, was turned into a bear to wander the woods. He felt a connection to King Richon, but even talking about animal magic would mean death, so he had no one he could ask questions of. His whole life Prince George struggled with his own "curse" of animal magic. Now that he was betrothed to Princess Beatrice of Sarrey, would that change? Could he keep a secret from the woman meant to be his life partner? This is a high interest/low readibility fairy tale.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 to 13
Interest Level: 9 and up
Reading Level: 5.6
Age of Child: Reviewed by a student at the Renaissance School (Charlottesville, VA) as part of a senior community service project. The review is part our Use Your ABCs initiative.
Young Reader Reaction: This is a highly imaginative fairy tale for an older child. The author is a skillful storyteller who weaves in elements of romance, drama, action, and occasional humor. The world in which the author so expertly creates is both entertaining and diverting from the world we live in today. The cover is very well done and intrigues the by stander to pick it up and examine its contents. The first chapter did not grip me like the cover did, and I was tempted to put it down. But this is one of those books you need to stick with if you hope to get anything out of it.
Adult Reader Reaction: The author covers a lot of ground in the first few pages, quickly transporting us back to the Middle Ages. Her descriptions are eloquent, and even though the story is told in the third person, you feel you are a character that goes wherever Prince George goes. The back cover of the book compares the story to Beauty and the Beast, but I found it a much richer story than that classic tale.
Pros: This is a well-crafted novel that everyone can enjoy. Even though it is set in Medieval times, readers will connect with the characters. The book is written from the point of view of a boy, which makes it unique in its genre and engaging for both genders. It is full of surprises and is very creative.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is an incredible story that will keep you turning pages to see what will happen next.
Educational Themes: This is a novel meant to be enjoyed as a recreational read. That said, there are lots of themes you can draw out for discussion, from individual character choices, to tolerance (and how it has/hasn't changed over time), sovereignty and law, and family relationships. The Princess and the Hound also offers a model platform for talking about the fairy tale and romance genres.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 5.6
Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, fairy tale, young adult
Date(s) Reviewed: September 2008, March 2009
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