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Princeless Book One: Save Yourself

Princeless Book OnePrinceless Book One: Save Yourself
By: Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin
Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment
Format: Softcover, 5 x 8, 116 pages, Full Color, $14.95
ISBN: 978-1-45079-894-5

On the back cover of this graphic novel I found a very intriguing quotation. Written by Comics Alliance I couldn’t agree more: "The story Disney should've been telling for the past twenty years."

Now on my all-time favorites list Princeless Book One: Save Yourself was a more-than-welcome surprise to my reading list. Contacted by its writer, Jeremy Whitley, I was offered an opportunity to read this story. As soon as I opened to the very first page I became happily-addicted. Even if I wanted to or needed to go somewhere I couldn't; this graphic novel is that good. I know treasure when I find it, and Princeless is a storytelling treasure.

So impressed by the clever story and the entrancing artwork, I felt as though I couldn't hold such a hot gem in my own hands for long. Teachers, parents, librarians, and students all need to know about this graphic novel right now. There is no time to lose. It's really that good. As fast we line up and purchase tickets to the latest, greatest animated film everyone can't wait to see I suggest we place the same excited interest and need to be in-the-know on Princeless Book One: Save Yourself.

Rewriting the traditional fairy tale in the most clever and unique storyline I have yet to read, Princeless makes writing a modern fairy tale look simple. Like the greatest athletes, actors, and writers who hold claim to some of our favorite moments in time and stories this graphic novel makes the impressive, the almost-impossible, look simple.  

Princess Adrienne is no ordinary princess. She's not going to sit around in a small, guarded castle guarded by a dragon waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting to be rescued!  She's busting out; and she's busting the modern fairy tale genre into the 21st century with her. Teamed up with her guard dragon, "Sparky," who is actually a big softy and loyal to the Princess, Princess Adrienne sets out on a journey no princess has yet to go on. She can't stop thinking about how silly the Princess gig is. Unlike her sisters she's not interested in sitting around, waiting to be rescued, singing beautiful songs that seem to endear and enchant forest animals. Princess Adrienne, Sparky, and a spunky new friend named Bedelia are going to rescue and redefine this whole princess business.  

English Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot: Princess Adrienne is no ordinary princess. This princess is not about to sit around in a dragon-guarded hideaway waiting for Prince Charming. She - and she's taking the dragon with her - are busting out of that tired fairy tale idea.

Setting: The King and Queen's castle, Princess Adrienne's dragon-guarded hideaway, the village, the blacksmith's shop, the forest

Major Characters: Princess Adrienne, Sparky, Bedelia, the Blacksmith, the King, the Queen, the King’s guards,

Themes: Coming of Age, Family, New Traditions, Individualism, Fairy Tales and Fables

Traditional and Contemporary Literary Pairing Suggestions: S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Hamlet by Shakespeare, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Some Teaching Recommendations For Middle and High School Readers

Suggested Alignment to the Common Core Standards:*
*Standard numbers correspond to the literal common core standards numbers, www.commoncorestandards.com

Craft and Structure
4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
6. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Lesson Idea for Fifth Grade Readers and Above:

Directions:
Because this graphic novel is so striking in its spin on the fairy tale genre, character identity is key to understanding and comprehending the story. With a focus on each character's unique identity (and the various ways in which this graphic novel crafts and structures that identity), students can fill out the following handout in order to demonstrate concrete understanding of each character and his / her contribution to the overall main idea.  

Directions:
Thinking about each character and his/her unique identity answer the following questions using details from the graphic novel to support your responses.

1. Using words or images list three of Princess Adrienne's unique personality traits. Next to each item on your list, list the page number in the graphic novel that motivates you to list that trait.  




2. Using words or images how would you describe Princess Adrienne to someone who has not read this story? Which pages would you show that person? Why?




3. Using words or images what action-packed experiences do you feel are most important or representative of Princess Adrienne (list page number with your words and/or images). Why?

 

 

1. Using words or images list three of Bedelia's unique personality traits. Next to each item on your list, list the page number in the graphic novel that motivates you to list that trait.  



2. Using words or images how would you describe Bedelia to someone who has not read this story? Which pages would you show that person? Why?




3. Using words or images what action-packed experiences do you feel are most important or representative of Bedelia (list page number with your words and/or images). Why?





1. Using words or images list three of Sparky unique personality traits. Next to each item on your list, list the page number in the graphic novel that motivates you to list that trait.  




2. Using words or images how would you describe Sparky to someone who has not read this story? Which pages would you show that person? Why?





3. Using words or images what action-packed experiences do you feel are most important or representative of Sparky (list page number with your words and/or images). Why?




1. Using words or images list three of the King's Guards' unique personality traits. Next to each item on your list, list the page number in the graphic novel that motivates you to list that trait.  





2. Using words or images how would you describe the King's Guards to someone who has not read this story? Which pages would you show that person? Why?






3. Using words or images what action-packed experiences do you feel are most important or representative of the King's Guards (list page number with your words and/or images). Why?





1. Using words or images list three of the King's and/or Queen's unique personality traits. Next to each item on your list, list the page number in the graphic novel that motivates you to list that trait.  




2. Using words or images how would you describe the King and/or Queen to someone who has not read this story? Which pages would you show that person? Why?




3. Using words or images what action-packed experiences do you feel are most important or representative of the King and/or the Queen (list page number with your words and/or images). Why?




 

Katie Monnin, PhD, is an assistant professor of literacy at the University of North Florida and author of Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom (2010) from Maupin House. To learn more about Teaching Graphic Novels or Katie Monnin, please go to this link: http://www.maupinhouse.com/monnin.php.