Reviewed Summer 2007

Beloved Knight/Princess/Dragon TaleDealing With Dragons (series)

by Patricia Wrede

Ages 8-up
212 pages

In a land where the number five is fashionable, and princesses learn embroidery and the royal wave, a rebellious princess stands out. One such tall dark beauty could care less about being a proper lady, and sets about instead trying to find a job. Her adventurous story, told with intrigue and humor, leads to a conclusion that even a proper princess could love.

Princess Cimorene led a difficult childhood. Growing up with a bakers' dozen of curly-headed blond sisters of the traditional princess variety, Cimorene was the only sister bored to tears with the traditional royal lessons. Embroidery, instrumentals, language, cooking. Secretly, Cimorene snuck off to learn fencing and dragon history -- far more useful in her eyes. But her disgruntled father always brought these classes to an end. Then, tiring of their daughter's rebellious behavior, the King and Queen decided it wa time to marry this troublesome child off. Difficult though the task was to find an interested royal family, they finally did. But Cimorene's arranged-finance was, however, as appalled as she at the thought of marriage, and helped her escape her parents. Scared and along, Cimorene set off on her own. But she eventually found her way into the life of a respectable dragon, another-not-so-helpless princess, a studious witch, and an angry wizard. And, in setting up her new life, Cimorene learned all sorts of useful things such as how to ride a dragon properly, and an interesting use for a bucket of soapy lemon-scented water.

This book, the first of a four-book series, sets the stage for an amazing story full of dragon feuds, an enchanted forest, leaking magic, zealot wizards, and a reluctant prince. The series introduces a myriad of one-of-a-kind characters, including a fanatically polite squirrel, a rebellious blue rabbit, a magical scientific expert, nine mysterious cats, potent poison herb gardens, crabby mirrors, and even a sinister purple glob.

Whether friend or foe, all these characters had one thing in common, they belonged to a threatened world, a world only Princess Cimorene and her friends can save. Read the books, surely, but also check out the book- on-tape or CD done with a complete cast of characters -- one of the most mesmerizing books-on-tape on the market...

Review by D.

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