Sunday, May 15, 2016

Review: Hamster Princess Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon

I'd like to take a break from educational ideas and books to share something just for fun:

Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon is a hilarious graphic novel that reinvents the classic fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty (Little Briar Rose), except that the princess is a hamster who fights ogres and cliff dives. You see, when Harriet learns about the curse placed on her, she realizes that she is temporarily invincible because the spell must keep her alive until her birthday in order for her to prick her finger and fall into a deep sleep. Harriet easily subverts fairy tale tropes with her no-nonsense attitude, because if she doesn't want to marry a prince, then why should she?

Harriet the Invincible is an engaging mix of traditional text story-telling and graphic novel illustrations that help deliver comedic punchlines. Because of the reading level, this series is listed as Middle Grade (8-12). My son is younger than that but enjoyed the book very much and read it multiple times in a day. I think some of the jokes may have gone over his head and that an older child will get even more out of the book.

One of the reasons I love this series is because I see a number of fairy tale mash-ups for adults, but not many (any?) for this age group, and certainly none so clever. Harriet is quite inspiring as a strong female character who happens to be a hamster.

One of the amazing things about this series is that Ursula Vernon is both author and illustrator of Hamster Princess and many other of her works. That's like writing the book twice!

Ursula is also the creator of Hugo-Award winning graphic novel Digger, which is for more mature audiences, as well as many other graphic novels and otherworks which you can find out about at

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