Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Princess and the Hound

Harrison, Mette Ivie. 2007. THE PRINCESS AND THE HOUND. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0061131873 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-9]

THE PRINCESS AND THE HOUND reads like a fairy tale--magic spells and all. To sum it up in one word, it’s enchanting. Despite the title, it is not narrated by a princess. It is narrated by a young man named George. A prince. The story spans many years—his childhood through his teen years. It is a story of a kingdom in turmoil. George has a secret—a secret that he shared with his mother, the Queen—that now threatens his life and kingdom.

One boy, a prince, one girl, a princess. Two kingdoms trying to keep peace. An arranged marriage. Those are the bare facts without embellishment. George and the princess, Beatrice, have their own secrets, hurts, fears, worries. Each one has reasons to mistrust others and hide their "true" selves and true thoughts and feelings. It is in this gradual revealing to one another that all unfolds and the magic released to do its healing. Love. Loss. Pain. Confusion. Fear. Hope. Forgiveness. Compassion. Justice. This book has it all.

George’s secret of being able to communicate telepathically with animals threatens to destroy his “normal” life. invite readers to consider: If you had the choice of having a special power—a gift—or being “normal” and “fitting in” with your peers, which would you choose and why?

Beatrice and George both have special bonds with their animals—their pets. Readers can speculate if they could read their pet’s thoughts, what do they think they’d learn?

Other magical fantasies to fall in love with:
Hale, Shannon. BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS. 1599900513
Hale, Shannon. GOOSE GIRL. 158234843X
Levine, Gail Carson. FAIREST. 0060734086
Stanley, Diane. BELLA AT MIDNIGHT. 0060775750

By Becky Laney

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