Ibbotson (Journey to the River Sea) turns stereotypical portrayals of fairy tale figures on their head in this hilarious account of a princess's rescue. The fun begins when a clan of displaced magical creatures—a hag, a troll, and a wizard—is recruited to save young Princess Mirella from her captor, the "dreaded Ogre of Oglefort." However, when the team, accompanied by an orphan boy, Ivo, arrives at Oglefort Castle, they quickly learn that it's the tired and sickly ogre who needs liberation. In an attempt to avoid the horrible fate of marrying a "nitwit" of a prince, Mirella has been browbeating the ogre, demanding he change her into a bird. After the truth is sorted out, the rescuers devise new goals that include nurturing the ogre back to health and warding off intruders—like the regiment of soldiers led by Mirella's fiancé. Fans of the author, who died in 2010, will find a gratifying mix of fresh material and traditional Ibbotson goodies: plenty of humorous twists, clever dialogue, an all's well that ends well conclusion, and, of course, cameo appearances by ghosts. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/06/2011 Release date: 08/01/2011 Genre: Children's
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