Two Princesses of Bamarre, The

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9780060575809: Two Princesses of Bamarre, The

"Step follows step.
Hope follows courage.
Set your face toward danger.
Set your heart on victory."

Princess Meryl dreams of one day protecting the kingdom of Bamarre, while timid Princess Addie is content to stay always within the safety of the castle walls. The one trait they share is their devotion to each other. Their world is turned upside down, though, when Meryl is stricken by the incurable Gray Death. To save her sister, Addie must set out on a dangerous quest filled with dragons, unknown magic, and death itself. Time is running out, and the sisters’ lives -- and the future of Bamarre -- hang in the balance.

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Review:

After stealing the hearts of middle-grade girls with her delightful Newbery Honor-winning Cinderella retelling, Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine here creates a fairy tale of her own and gives it a characteristic grrrl-power twist. Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys. But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister. Addie takes the seven-league boots and magic spyglass left to her by her mother and the enchanted tablecloth and cloak given to her by Rhys--along with a shy declaration of his love. She prevails in encounters with tricky specters (spiders too) and outwits a wickedly personable dragon in adventures touched with romance and a bittersweet ending. Young fans of princess stories will gobble this one up. (Ages 10 to 14) --Patty Campbell

About the Author:

Gail Carson Levine grew up in New York City and has been writing all her life. Her first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Dave At Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; and her Princess Tales books: The Princess Test, The Fairy's Mistake, Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, Cinderellis and the Glass Hill, For Biddle's Sake and The Fairy's Return. She is also the author of the picture book Betsy Who Cried Wolf, illustrated by Scott Nash.

Gail, her husband, David, and their Airedale, Baxter, live in a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse in the Hudson River Valley.

In Her Own Words...

"I grew up in New York City. In elementary school I was a charter member of the Scribble Scrabble Club, and in high school my poems were published in an anthology of student poetry. I didn't want to be a writer. First I wanted to act and then I wanted to be a painter like my big sister. In college, I was a Philosophy major, and my prose style was very dry and dull! My interest in the theater led me to my first writing experience as an adult. My husband David wrote the music and lyrics and I wrote the book for a children's musical, Spacenapped that was produced by a neighborhood theater in Brooklyn.

"And my painting brought me to writing for children in earnest. I took a class in writing and illustrating children's books and found that I was much more interested in the writing than in the illustrating.

"Most of my job life has had to do with welfare, first helping people find work and then as an administrator. The earlier experience was more direct and satisfying, and I enjoy thinking that a bunch of people somewhere are doing better today than they might have done if not for me."  

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Levine, Gail Carson
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