Carolyn Phelan (Booklist, Aug. 1, 2002 (Vol. 98, No. 22))
Reviewed with Gail Carson Levine's For Biddle's Sake. Once upon a time, when a young girl asked a librarian for a princess book, she meant a traditional fairy tale featuring a princess. Now, as likely as not, she wants a book from Levine's series the Princess Tales, small volumes that borrow elements from folk-tales to create lively, new stories. In Fairy's Return, a princess falls in love with the third son of a baker, a young man whose jokes make her laugh. With both parents resisting the marriage, it takes determination, imagination, and the intervention of a wish-granting fairy to bring this couple to the point of "happily ever after." For Biddle's Sake introduces Parsley, a sweet-natured girl raised by the fairy Bombina, who struggles with an obsessive drive to turn people into toads. After many years of relative control, she flies into a fit of rage and transforms her beloved Parsley. Only a marriage proposal from a human can return Parsley to her previous form. A few black-and-white drawings illustrate the stories, but the real draw of these attractively designed books is the inventive use of folkloric elements woven into charming, original stories. Category: Books for Middle Readers--Fiction. 2002, HarperCollins, $9.99, $14.89. Gr. 3-5.
Virginia Gleaton (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 15, No. 3))
This is a story that deals with fairies, a princess named Lark, and a baker's son named Robin. In a typical plot, the princess cannot marry a commoner. The princess is the first person to laugh at Robin's jokes, and he is the only one who can make Lark laugh. The entertaining plot is woven so the two find their love for each other and eventually marry. Some readers might find the made-up words the king uses to be distracting, but it is a book that girls will find particularly appealing. (Princess Tales) Nonfiction (398.2). Grades 4-6. 2002, HarperCollins, 104p., $14.89. Ages 9 to 12.