The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation by Shannon and Dean Hale, LeUyen Pham


Goodreads: The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation
Series:  Princess in Black #4
Source: Library
Published: Nov. 2016


Fifteen monsters in seven days?  Princess Marigold is ready for a break from her goat-protecting duties as the Princess in Black.  But when she takes a trip to the beach, she discovers that her vacation might not be so peaceful after all.


Though my library shelves these books with the middle grade, I think that they could more accurately be considered beginner readers.  The plots and the jokes are very simplistic and somewhat repetitive.  Some of the vocabulary is more advanced, but the sentences are simple and also somewhat repetitive.  I can see young readers enjoying these a lot, especially because the idea of a princess who fights monsters is undeniably cool, but, as an older reader, I find myself not entirely charmed.

Strikingly, I have only read the first book and the series and now this fourth one and it seems very much as if I have not missed anything and that I am actually reading a variation of the same book.  In book one, we are introduced to the Goat Avenger.  In book four, it seems the Princess in Black has just met the Goat Avenger.  A joke that was made about the Princess in Black in book one is made about the Goat Avenger in book four.  Moves that the Princess in Black uses in book one are used again in book four (perhaps not surprisingly).  And the plot?  Well, it boils down to the Princess in Black fights monsters.  This could work, obviously–“monster of the week” works–but somehow it feels a tad bland, even with all the bright illustrations.

Still, I recognize that younger readers tend to embrace repetition and that these books are not written for me.  I would definitely introduce children to them because I am sure they’d fall in love with a princess who can fight and that they would find the jokes funny even when I do not.  I would prefer a beginner reader that could also appeal more to adults–this is important since adults end up reading these books many times with their children–but the series sells, so it’s clearly doing something right.

3 starsKrysta 64

2 thoughts on “The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation by Shannon and Dean Hale, LeUyen Pham

  1. esthercise says:

    My daughter loves these books! I think the aspect that she’s a princess and a ninja at the same time appeals to her and empowers her to believe that she can be and do multiple things.


    • Krysta says:

      I do love the dual identity aspect! And I’m sure if I were younger I’d want to BE the princess in black! It’s nice that you and your daughter can share these!


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