I have a new favorite princess, Harriet the Invincible. She is sturdy. She is stalwart. She is strong! She is small and slow-ish. She is a HAMSTER!! And she rides a battle quail. I'm in awe.
Ratpunzel, which is the third book in the series. Now I have to get the first two and find out why Harriet was working at a slight disadvantage in Book 3.
The reading level is about grade 4 but the interest level is higher, through grade 7. Harriet will appeal to kids who like a lot of action of the more-fun-than-fierce kind. The dialogue is clever and punny and sometimes appears in speech bubbles. That's important. Those little illustrations move the action forward so don't just skip them.
In Ratpunzel, Harriet's friend Wilbur, needs help in rescuing his pet hydra's kidnapped egg. The plot gets a bit scrambled but, not to worry. Harriet's excellent sword wielding skills and warrior instincts keep things moving along. There's a tower, a princess-to-be-rescued, a witch, hidden passages and spells and slapstick swordplay until the satisfying conclusion.
Then there's Lug. He is a prehistoric hero, saving his clan from imprisonment and destruction, one ice age worry at a time. In the second book in the series, Lug: Blast from the North by David Zeltser, Lug and his friends rescue a stranger who lives on a quickly moving glacier. He seems soooo friendly. Lug doesn't warm up to Blast as quickly as his friends do. (See what I did there?) And Lug is right! BTW, Lug has a sword, too, but his is made of ice!
This series will appeal to the same set of readers. The abundance of black and white illustrations, silly dialogue, middle school age insecurities and jealousies, and treachery cleverly deflected should keep young adventure seekers happy.