There’s a pretty famous blog out there that coined the whole ‘put a bird on it’ term and I totally do not remember what blog that was. But you guys? That is how you get me to pick up a book solely based on the cover, PUT A BIRD ON IT. When I saw Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup in the Candlewick catalog, I knew I had to read it on the basis of the bird being on the cover and ALSO ALSO because it is a middle grade fantasy featuring a strong, young heroine and I am all about girl power sorts of books, especially when different images of femininity are presented.
Princess Adela is more happy out in the garden than she is anywhere else in the castle. When her dad, the king, marries a new woman, her stepmother is not altogether pleased with Adela’s lack of feminine charms. Yet, there’s nothing she can really do about it. And honestly? She’s not such a terrible stepmother, besides this whole don’t get too close to the help thing. Anyways, one day Adela’s stepsister receives an invitation to a garden party hosted by the lady Hortensia. Adela invites herself along because she is curious about the famous garden. So, with her friend Garth, some noble friends, and her stepsister, the group makes their way to Hortensia’s party. There Adela can tell something is off, flowers are in bloom out of season and there is no greenhouse in sight. Turns out Hortensia is a witch you guys, and that’s all I will say concerning the plot of Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup.
If you like your heroines feisty but with a side of bravery and with strong personalities, chances are you will like Adela. Note, this book definitely falls on the younger side of the young adult and middle grade spectrum. Adela is kind and also quite smart. She is passionate about her hobby as well and loves working with her hands. She doesn’t feel bad about her various pursuits and does not let those who would demean her have any success. Really, Adela is a great character when it comes to showcasing individuality and staying true to yourself.
Kladstrup’s Garden Princess is a very quick one day for an hour or two sort of read. If you have children who enjoy fantasy and fairy tales, this might be a gentle sort of read for them. Be aware there is a very minor romance in the book, I thought it was cute and added to my enjoyment of the story. I would recommend Garden Princess to people who are in the market for an enjoyable middle grade fantasy about a strong heroine who sticks to her guns and who basically overcomes a witch. Also, there is a magpie character who is awesome and well, you’ll see how everything ties in to the end of the book.
Disclosure: Review Copy Provided By Publisher
Other reviews of Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup:
Charlotte’s Library – “A nice one for younger middle grade readers”
Random Musings Of A Bibliophile – “everyone should have on hand for young princess story enthusiasts”
Readful Things – “reminded me of the simple, elegant classics of the past”