cover image Born to Rule

Born to Rule

Kathryn Lasky, . . HarperCollins, $15.99 (143pp) ISBN 978-0-06-058761-1

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)