The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison

Read: May 6 - May 9
Format: Hardback 410 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Animal Magic, arranged marriages
Category: The Kids have it - Young adult and children's books
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI
Stars: ★★★½

Prince George has a secret. He's fought to keep it hidden ever since his mother died when he was eight years old. But now it is getting harder and harder to maintain the private knowledge that frightens all the people in his kingdom of Kendel and forces him farther and farther away from his father and those that could care for him.

The prologue of this books tells the tale of King Richon who is transformed into a bear because of his mistreatment of animals and he will remain a bear, according to the legend, until he can be loved as he is - a Beauty and the Beast tale. But as the book starts, Prince George is a person who has inherited animal magic from his mother - the ability to talk to all animals in their own language (Dr. Doolittle eat your heart out). The ability to communicate with the animals has become a fearsome power and just the idea that a person has this magic could get them burned at the stake.

Now that George is betrothed to Princess Beatrice of Sarrey, he must travel to her father's kingdom to make the final negotiations for the arranged marriage. When he finds Princess Beatrice with her hound (they are inseparable), George realizes that if he is to have a true marriage, he must reveal himself to her and find out Beatrice's secret as well.

This story, beautifully told from the viewpoint of the Prince for a change, is of self-acceptance and tolerance of others. What a beautiful way to teach our young adults that differences amongst us is not something to be afraid of but to be treasured. Definitely a book for all ages.

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