cover image The Monster Princess

The Monster Princess

D.J. MacHale, illus. by Alexandra Boiger, S&S/Aladdin, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-4809-4

Yearning to break free of her life underground, Lala, a young monster with scaly arms and lettuce hair, heads for a mountaintop castle, where she endures public humiliation at the hands of three princesses ("You're a monster forever," they jeer. "Now get out of here!"). The next day, using her insider's knowledge, she rescues the three from a brute with "sour beast-breath," but declines to befriend them even after gratitude makes the princesses relent. Boiger's pastel paintings play up the contrast between the princesses' charmed existence and Lala's comfy burrow, and while MacHale's (the Pendragon series) verse—like his heroine—is a little lumpy, he delivers his message about handling mean girls with sincerity. Ages 4–6. (Aug.)