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Born to Rule
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Lasky's (the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series) Camp Princess series is off to a sprightly start with this tale set at a summer camp attended by "forty of the most royal princesses on earth." At center throne, for her first summer at camp, is the proper, ribbon-and-lace bedecked Princess Alicia of All the Belgravias. She is assigned to the reputedly haunted South Turret with some rather unorthodox royalty: the gutsy, outdoorsy Princess Kristen of the Isles of the Salt Tears, who wears a tiara fashioned from shark teeth and is far more comfortable holding a jousting lance than a tapestry needle; and the down-to-earth, no nonsense Princess Gundersnap of the Empire of Slobodkonia, whose mother has invaded numerous kingdoms and who has "mud-colored hair that sprang out like corkscrews from under her iron tiara." Fans of princess-populated fiction will appreciate the fanciful flourishes and tongue-in-royal-cheek trappings (etiquette lessons include instructions on "muffling a belch" and swimmers must wear "regulation bathing tiaras"). Lasky adds intrigue to the story with Alicia's search for answers to a mystery. Passages from her favorite book (Love Letters of a Forgotten Princess), pleas for help she hears at night, and the ghost of a princess who died of a broken heart more than 100 years earlier all play a part in its solution. A light, quick-moving caper. Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Gr 3-6-Princess Alicia of All the Belgravias does not want to attend Camp Princess. Young royals from near and far, nasty and nice, engage in activities that include swimming, falconry, embroidery, flawless makeup application, and training songbirds from the Forest of Chimes. Alicia's bird refuses to sing and the girl's unexpected outspokenness gets her in trouble with a camp counselor, threatening to put her purple team in last place in the camp's color wars. The only saving grace turns out to be her new turret mates: Princess Kristen of the Isles of Salt Tears in the Realm of the Rolm and Princess Gundersnap of the Empire of Slobodkonia. Yet, it is shy Alicia who becomes embroiled in a tragic old love story. She meets a mysterious, magical woman in the forest and discovers a ghost lurking in her bedchamber and a missing tapestry that tells only half of the lovers' tale. In the end, the girls release the ghost princess and her knight for a happy reunion. Some characters are not fully developed and Gundersnap's accent is inconsistent. Despite these minor distractions, readers will enjoy the satisfying ending. Purchase this one for devoted fans of "puffball" princess stories.-Alison Grant, West Bloomfield Township Public Library, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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