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story.lead_photo.caption (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/CELIA STOREY)

TITLE: The Evil Princess vs. the Brave Knight

BY: Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Random House, August) 36 pages, $17.99

STORY: A brother and sister share a castle and a manky cat. The castle authority figure is a full-length, ambulatory Magic Mirror. The boy has dark skin and kinky hair, dresses in armor and drags a sword almost as long as he is tall. He does good deeds. The girl has pale skin and straight hair and stomps about in cape and crown like Snow White's evil queen. She picks on him.

They ricochet from cooperation to squabbling. Sent to their rooms, she practices brooding and casting fake spells; he brandishes his sword bravely at a basketball.

Bored, they promise to play nicely if they can come out. But soon they're on a quest to "rescue" the cat from its happy perch above a tub full of bubblebath. This leads where we know it will.

Slap-dash illustrations tricked out with sound effect and dialogue balloons make crafty use of details — like the finishing nails that hold Magic Mirror's backing board against her frame, seen as she waddles from the room with the dripping cat.

Kids don’t have to belong to a mixed-race family to relate to what’s happening here, and they ought to enjoy disapproving of the naughty sister’s conduct.

This cheerful story comes from a brother-sister duo responsible for three series of graphic novels for kids, including the Babymouse books.

Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.

Style on 09/09/2019

Print Headline: READ TO ME

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