Michele Landsberg
June 07, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Dealing With Dragons

Current Status
In Season
Patricia C. Wrede
Sci-fi and Fantasy, Kids and Family

We gave it an B+

Cimorene, youngest daughter of the King of Linderwall, is a most improper princess. She prefers to look princes straight in the eye instead of gazing up-ward through fluttering lashes. She would much rather cook, fence, or learn magic than study etiquette and embroidery. When her parents arrange her marriage to the dull Prince Therandil, Cimorene does the only sensible thing: She runs away to live with dragons.

Dealing With Dragons is a frisky satire of fairy-tale conventions. As a ”voluntary captive princess,” Cimorene keeps house for the dragon Kazul, cooking cherries jubilee, dusting the treasure trove, studying magic. Her worst annoyance: bothersome princes who doggedly arrive to rescue her from a life she enjoys.

The action revolves around some evil wizards who scheme to steal the dragons’ magic powers. Cimorene foils them at last with help from a friendly witch and her own spunky common sense.

Dealing is an agreeable romp. The tone may be too lighthearted to engage the reader’s emotions very deeply, and the plot occasionally bogs down in its own mechanisms, but the freshness and good humor of Wrede’s approach are enough to keep most kids skipping right along to the end. B+

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