The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Published by Candlewick Press 

Summary: Princess Magnolia is back, doing her quick-change routine from perfect pink princess to the monster-fighting Princess in Black. This time, she’s trying to enjoy her birthday party with her twelve princess guests, but that darn glitter-stone ring keeps ringing, alerting her to monster invasions.  When it goes off, she ducks into the broom closet, puts on her black clothes, and rides off on her black horse, Blacky (transformed from Frimplepants the unicorn).  Time and again, the ring goes off, and the princess has to dash off to fight monsters without alerting her guests to her secret identity.  When a monster attacks just as the presents are about to be opened, it’s the last straw.  Will the princess ever get to celebrate her birthday? Grades K-3.

Pros:  The second entry in the Princess in Black series is just as winning as the first, with a spunky heroine, sly humor, and plentiful illustrations.  A perfect first chapter book.

Cons: Duff the Goatherd, one of my favorite characters from the first book, was almost completely absent from this installment.

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