Review of THE FAIRY’S RETUN by GAIL CARSON LEVINE
(sixth in THE PRINCESS TALES series)
This final installment in Levine’s charming PRINCESS TALES series spoofs “The Golden Goose.” Baker’s son Robin meets princess Lark and they like each other right away, especially each other’s sense of humor. Then Lark’s father, the king, tells her she can’t marry a commoner; she must marry a prince. In her version of the silent treatment, Lark stops laughing and smiling entirely after that ultimatum. Desperate to cheer up his daughter, the king finally announces that she can marry the first prince who makes her laugh.
We already know it’s Robin who will make the sulking princess laugh, but as to how he slips by the prince requirement you have to read the book to see. Of course, how he makes her laugh provides plenty of entertainment in itself, too.
As for all these short tales, Levine populates her slim story with amusing, colorful characters. Robin’s father tells pompous, piteous poems. His brothers invent words, in the same manner as a lot children do or people who are either intoxicated or simply silly, but the punch line here is that the brothers think themselves utter geniuses for their stuplorable vocabulary. You also have to love Robin’s unrequited admirer, whose personality might be lacking in some ways but certainly not in confidence.
I’m sad to see this series end as I could happily read as many PRINCESS TALES as Levine could write. Who knows, maybe she’ll add a few more in the future.