Hamster Princess Harriet the Invincible
By Ursula Vernon
Princess Harriet Hamsterbone is the anti-princess. She loves fighting, cliff-diving and all sorts of unseemly sports and hobbies. So when she figures out that a curse, set to take effect when she turns twelve, also means she is invincible until then, she is thrilled. She has the time of her life fighting dragons, jousting and jumping off roofs until the fateful day when the curse plays out in a most unexpected way. It is Princess Harriet who figures how to break the curse and save the kingdom. It is her prince who follows along to help. The message of girl-empowerment is a delightful twist on the traditional Sleeping Beauty fairytale. The book is illustrated with images drawn in heavy outline and washed with white and muted tones of dark blue, dark grey and black that give the drawings a monochromatic feel. The hamsters show little individualization except for clothing or accessories which can make it difficult to tell them apart. Intended as the opening book in a new series by the author of Dragonbreath, Vernon’s book does a good job of highlighting girls’ empowerment and the way traditional social roles are changing.
Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Young Readers Group