Sunday, January 20, 2019

Review - Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise

Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise (Mercy Watson #4)
by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Date: 2007
Publisher: Candlewick
Reading level: C
Book type: illustrated chapter book
Pages: 80
Format: e-book
Source: library

When the Watsons decide to zip their porcine wonder into a formfitting princess dress for Halloween —complete with tiara — they are certain that Mercy will be beautiful beyond compare. Mercy is equally certain she likes the sound of trick-or-treating and can picture piles of buttered toast already. As for the Lincoln sisters next door, how could they know that their cat would lead them all on a Halloween “parade” of hysterical proportions? Kate DiCamillo’s delightful pig is back in a tale full of treats, tricky turns, hijinks, and high humor.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Sadly, I think this is my least favourite of all the Mercy Watson books. It relies much more heavily on the pictures than on the story, which contains a lot of repetition, especially during the chase. The plot is basically that Mercy and the Watsons go trick-or-treating and Mercy chases Eugenia's cat, General Washington, up a tree.

The pictures are awfully cute, and I love how Stella herself is dressed up as a pig. It's also rather amusing when she runs off and her brother, Frank, shouts her name, à la A Streetcar Named Desire. Mostly, though, I'm kind of disappointed at how thin the story is. It's fun watching Mrs. Watson try to put a costume on a pig (Mercy only agrees because she thinks the resulting treat will be toast with a great deal of butter on it), and the return of the firemen Ned and Lorenzo is amusing. I guess I just wish there had been a little more story than the usual "cat stuck in a tree" trope.

As part of the series, this book works fine. But if someone were to read it on its own, they'd probably be underwhelmed.

Quotable moment:

"Well," said Stella, "I guess the parade is over."

"Nothing is over!" Eugenia Lincoln shouted.

She stared up into the branches of the tree.

"General Washington," said Eugenia, "come down here immediately."

"Moowwll," said General Washington.

"General Washington," said Eugenia, "I will not take 'no' for an answer."

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Pace: 4/5
Writing & Editing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.63 out of 5

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