Thursday, September 8, 2011

Twice Upon a Marigold

Title:               Twice Upon a Marigold
Category:       Fantasy
Grade:            3-7
Author:          Jean Ferris
Publisher:       Harcourt
:              Orlando
Date:               2008
Pages:             297

Life in Beaurivage has been peaceful and pleasant for both the peasants and the royal family since Christian and Marigold were happily wedded and the evil queen Olympia fell into the river and disappeared.  Far downstream, life in Granolah has also been quite pleasant as the villagers welcome the sweet, if amnesia-ridden, woman Angelica, whom the mayor fished out of the river a year ago.  Unfortunately for everyone, Angelica’s memories return, and she is, of course, none other but the evil queen herself, and more than ready to reassume the throne and remove anyone who gets in the way.  With her (former) best friend, Lazy Susan, in tow and the enigmatic Mr. Lucasa, Olympia returns to Beaurivage and sets the castle in an uproar.  As she plots to do away with her benevolent, but distracted husband, Swithbert, Christian and Marigold begin to discover that happily ever after does not always mean perfect wedded bliss.  Amidst their quarrels, Olympia has most of the royal family imprisoned and scheduled to be executed.  Marigold and Christian must find a way to overcome their differences, outwit the guards, and overthrow the queen before she hangs them all. 

In spite of a grim-sounding summary, this story like its predecessor, is a rollicking little romp, full of twists and turns and surprises that even younger children may enjoy. Ferris writes with a clear and merry tone and stock-style characters that are easily distinguished as good or evil, yet loveable (or hate-able) nonetheless.  While fans of the first book will enjoy the further adventures of their favorite heroes and villains, newcomers should not have any trouble following this tale.  Older children will enjoy the swift paced action and humor in Ferris’s writing.  Highly awarded, this book makes a fine companion to its prequel and is a fun, lighthearted read.


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