Author: Hilary McKay
Illustrator: Nick Maland
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Nothing is the same since Sara left Miss Minchin’s. The school was all a-fuss for a while, but now Sara has moved away and Ermengarde is back to the boring, miserable life she led before Sara came. Lavinia, still horribly snobbish, is wrapped up in studying for college. Jessie is flirting and sighing over the cute boy who moved in next door, and Lottie is, as ever, up to mischief. Sure that Sara no longer cares about her, Ermengarde must forge a new life and a new social circle for herself. But when fire erupts at the Seminary, Ermengarde discovers courage she did not know she possessed.
Attempting to add to a tale as well-known and loved as A Little Princess is a daunting task, and not to be undertaken lightly. While McKay characterizes major players like Ermengarde, Lottie and Lavinia well enough, true fans of the original will be irritated by the many small discrepancies between this story and Burnett’s tale. More problematic, the book lacks any sort of substantial plot – it is indeed the story of what happened to the girls left at school when Sara departed, and the answer seems to be “nothing much.” The book does contain some funny vignettes, but lacks the substance and realism of the book it aspires to follow.