Sir Princess Petra’s Talent by Diane Robinson is a fun fantasy about girl empowerment. The second title in The Pen Pieyu Adventures Series, it features a royal family, a dragon, a bog witch, a reluctant suitor, and some unusual attackers. At just under one-hundred pages, and with larger print, this chapter book is sure to entice even reluctant readers.
Girl empowerment stories have been around for a long time but they never grow old. Especially if they have creative twists. The concept of a princess wanting to be a knight is different enough to have high appeal. Then there is the whole deal with Petra needing to learn a talent. She could pick standard fare such as Princess Etiquette or Knitting School. Or she could choose from oddities such as Get Over Fainting Fast, Cloak Sewing School, and Preparing to be Engaged. Or she could persuade her instructor to allow her to enroll in a class listed as “closed”. I loved her choice, which you can discover by reading Sir Princess Petra’s Talent. The last adventure I’ll disclose is that after Petra and her new friends leave talent school, they encounter some unusual attackers. The scene which reveals the true nature of the attackers reminded me of subsequent books in the Oz series.
This particular girl empowerment story also works because throughout Sir Princess Petra’s Talent, all of Robinson’s characters have this perfect blend of flippancy and seriousness which make them endearing and hilarious. There’s Princess Petra herself. When her parents order her to attend talent school, her reaction is far from trite, but also never borders on rebellion, sullenness, or tantrums. As such, it makes me feel sympathy for Petra, but also lets me laugh at the whole predicament: “Petra felt her face flush and her manners fly out the window.” And her parents never seem seriously cruel, while also successfully gaining her compliance: “The king gave his you-had-better-be-quiet glare…. The king smirked and plopped back into his chair.” Robinson has endowed her story with other delightful characters, such as Snarls the dragon. And then there’s the prince who attempts to duel with Petra to stop her from receiving her certificate, but also cowers out of fear of being put into a frilly dress as punishment for interfering with Petra’s mission. The list goes on, but you get the idea.
Did I have any problems with Sir Princess Petra’s Talent? I As a chapter book, it should be episodic in nature. It also doesn’t need the driving force of high drama. Yet I have to admit the ending, while cute enough, felt a little lackluster. When I reached page eighty-seven, it surprised me to have reached the last page. I was expecting more.
Diane Robinson is a Canadian author. Many awards have been bestowed on her Pen Pieyu Adventures Series. I’m proud of this opportunity to feature Robinson’s second chapter book here at Allison’s Book Bag. Sir Princess Petra’s Talent is an imaginative story which should both inspire and invoke giggles from its young readers. Thanks to Kid Lit Reviews for inviting me to participate in their virtual promotion tour.
My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.
How would you rate this book?