Hamster Princess: charming, funny, subversive middle-grades illustrated fantasy about a totally ass-kicking hamster princess
When Princess Harriet Hamsterbone was born, her royal parents naturally didn't invite the evil fairy, and so of course the evil fairy cursed her to prick herself on a hamster wheel on her twelfth birthday and die; and of course the three good fairies softened the curse -- and that's where things get really funny in Ursula Vernon's 2015 middle-grades fantasy Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible, the first in a wildly successful series.
When Harriet grows up a little and discovers that she's cursed to be pricked by a hamster wheel on her 12th birthday, she is overjoyed. If magic foreordains her pricking on her 12th birthday, that means she's invincible: the magic won't let anything kill her until then. So she takes her leave of her parents and sets out to kill or at least beat the tar out of every single monster in the world by the time she turns 12th. When her parents tell her this isn't princessly behavior, she retorts that she's a princess, so by definition, whatever she does is princessly.
That's the setup, and it goes to some very funny places, as Harriet returns home just before her 12th to pick the prince she'll be promised to; he'll stand by to kiss her ten seconds after she is pricked by the wheel (Harriet's parent's aren't stupid, after all), and then there's a twist that ends up with Harriet being the only one who isn't cursed and now she has to go find a prince to kiss everyone in the castle to wake them up.
Together with fantastic comedic illustrations and hilarious dialogue, this is about as charming as can be -- and there's several more that follow!
Many thanks to Michelle Sagara West at Toronto's BakkaPhoenix Books for recommending this one.
Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible [Ursula Vernon/Dial Books]
I appeared on the O'Reilly podcast this week to discuss my upcoming keynote at the O'Reilly Fluent Conference.
Eudora -- first released in 1988 -- was the first industrial-strength email client designed to run on personal computers like IBM PC and the Macintosh; though there are still die-hard users of the program, the last version was published in 2006.
The Lifeclock One: Snake Edition is a $300 licensed replica of the countdown timer watch worn by Snake Plissken in Escape From New York: it's very cool looking and faithful to the original prop, but regrettably, the designers have added in a bunch of "smart-watch" features (Bluetooth, an app, text-message and app notifications from your […]
The workday is long, and inevitably, you’re going to find yourself needing to take a break from the daily grind. With Mini Materials Miniature Cinder Blocks, you can take some time for yourself and decompress by turning your desk into a miniature construction site. They’re available today in the Boing Boing Store for $22.49. Handmade […]
Handheld radios might seem a bit archaic, but in an emergency situation, few things will keep you as reliably connected to the outside world. This Emergency Multi-Function Radio & Flashlight takes the utility of the tried-and-true radio and combines it with a powerful flashlight and self-sufficient energy system. It’s available in the Boing Boing Store for […]
Few programming languages boast the versatility and user-friendliness of Python, which is why it’s the first language of choice for many aspiring programmers. Regardless of your experience level, you can take the first step to becoming Python-savvy with the Python 3 Bootcamp Bundle, available in the Boing Boing Store for $35 this week. Featuring more than […]