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Author: Merrie Haskell

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Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers,

Material: hard cover

Summary: It was no use. No matter what the King tried, he was buying new shoes for the princesses of Sylvania every day! Worst of all, people were disappearing and dying - his daughters' fiances, castle staff. Someone had to break this curse - and soon! Without a marriage, there would be war between the kingdoms. The Queen put out a call - and a huge reward - to the person who could break the curse. Reveka, an herbalist's apprentice and daughter to the castle gardener, wanted that reward. She could set up her own healing shop! What Reveka discovered she could save the kingdom - but was she willing to pay the price? This is a fairy tale adventure that is part The 12 Dancing Princesses and part Rumplestiltskin.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 to 13

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 5.4

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: I loved every moment of this book. Even though I knew the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, there were twists in this version that made it unique and ultimately, less selfish. The author also did a wonderful job weaving in more of the historical context of life in the Middle Ages.

Pros: Fairy tale and adventure lovers will enjoy this well-told story of a young girl's quest to reach her dreams.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a wonderful retelling of The 12 Dancing Princesses and is a very engaging story.


Educational Themes: This is a great text for older readers to discover how different stories can be woven together. It also demonstrates the difference between a fractured fairy tale and retelling of a story. Reveka faces some dilemmas - with her father, with the princesses, and others - that could be discussion points. For example, at one point she is deciding whether to disobey her father. You can stop there and ask "what would you do" or "what do you think would happen.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - fairy tale, mystery, adventure

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2014

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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