Children's Books

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JULY 13, 2011
The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French
After Lady LaMorna orders a new black velvet robe with many rows of skulls along the bottom, lined with blood red petticoats, she has the unpleasant surprise of finding her treasure box empty. She conceives a plan to kidnap all the royal princes and princesses who are attending an event in Fracture and turn them into frogs before ransoming them back to their families. Prince Marcus escapes this fate by purposefully not completing his school assignment and being left behind at the castle as his punishment, in the hopes of having a day for himself. But after accidentally overhearing the plot he decides he must save his twin, as well as the other royals. Others also know of the plan including a strange cast of characters of talking bats, the Ancient Crones, a “true heart” orphan who is often kept in a cellar, and her evil stepsister who is half wolf. This entertaining fairy tale bends the rules a bit. The evil stepsister is quite beautiful, the prince’s lazy twin is not a backstabber, the old crones are not bad, and the wicked old witch really just wants a new robe and to keep to herself. The many twists and turns come together in an unexpected and satisfying ending. This is the first book in the Tales of the Five Kingdoms series. Highly recommended for readers in grades 4-6.

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