Marie Basting’s debut is fun, magical and despite the main protagonist’s claims about how boring the life of a princess is, there is certainly nothing boring about this lively and madcap story.
Being a princess is not all it is cracked up to be, just ask Princess Avariella Petulia Winifred Pandoro D’Allessandro, Ava for short. Ava struggles to find happiness in the kingdom of Biscotti where she has to live by a strict set of rules and high expectations. Her rather boring life becomes a lot more exciting when whilst sack-sledging through the palace she tumbles through a portal into another world. Camden, London is awesome with its strangely dressed locals, punks, skate-boarders, BMX-riders and pizzas. With a new found love for BMX and a friend in Ethan, Ava is enchanted by this new world.
But Ava is not the only one using the portal, a dark sorceress is out for revenge and sneaks into the world of Biscotti and kidnaps Ava’s brother and her dog Jeb. With the kingdom under threat, it is up to Ava and her new best friend, Ethan, to put their BMX skills to the ultimate test and for Ava to prove to her dad that not all princesses need to be pleasantly perfect…
With strong messages about friendship, loyalty and being true to who you really are, Princess BMX is a right royal romp of an adventure. Marie Basting flips the traditional fairy-tale on its head and delivers a fresh and original twist on the typical princess narrative filled with thrills, spills, rule-breaking and plenty of bunny hops, ollies, tail whips and bar spins. Fast-paced with plenty of action, adventure and bags of heart, it makes for a real page-turner.
Action flits between the magical kingdom of Biscotti and modern day London and it is rather good fun to visit both. In Biscotti there are many elements of the standard fairy-tale - a delicious fairy-tale setting, a sprinkling of magic, a dragon, a unicorn, pet teabags and an evil villain who’s out to get revenge on her brother and is determined to take over the world. Camden provides the opportunity for Ava to experience life outside of Biscotti and she embraces her freedom and relishes the non-princess lifestyle. Humour and heart-warming moments are never far away as Ava makes friends, suffers clothing faux-pas, learns to ride a bike and enjoys pizza for the first time. When the two worlds collide, Ava, along with Ethan, needs to embrace her all-action, adventurous and BMX-riding self to get the better of her evil auntie.
Narrated by Ava - a butt-kicking character who readers will love, the story-telling is on point and Basting writes with a great awareness of her target audience. Flavia Sorrentino adds the black and white illustrations to the brilliantly bonkers BMX-riding, kingdom saving fun.
A totally rad read and I thank the ‘good goblin’ for books like this that challenge stereotypes and empower children.
Recommended for 7+.