A couple who longs for a child; a mysterious "long ago" world of dangerous, unthinkable oppression and resuscitating natural forces; the emergence of a beatific girl child who must be spirited away before the evil antagonist can get her--all of these traditional fairytale plot elements are reinvented with distinction and life in Faith Ringgold's brand new African American "legend" The Invisible Princess.
Most important, the title character in this conflict between a community of slaves and their evil plantation owner is instantly magical, and unforgettable. Born on a thunderous, stormy night, bearing saucer-shaped eyes and a burst of cornrows that extend from her head like sun rays, the enchanted Invisible Princess is so magnificently conceived that it makes the ensuing drama--which becomes almost biblical in its proportions--both gripping and conceptually possible.
Children will instantly agree that the Invisible Princess is a very special young girl, and will care about and identify with her. For that reason they're likely to need significant hand-holding during two sharp turns in the tale: first, when the hero must endure separation from her parents in order to stay protected from the evil Captain Pepper; and second, when Pepper threatens to separate the princess's parents forever. Still, Ringgold's fantastic landscapes stay warm throughout, conveying the stupendous, hard-won resolve and embrace that occurs at story's end. --Jean Lenihan