Kate Coombs

Runaway Princess | Map of Greeve
The Ballad of the Runaway Princess | Vantor's Swoon Club
Gorba's Reading | Frogs and Princes | Half the Kingdom

The Runaway Princess

written by Kate Coombs

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York 2006
ISBN-10: 0374355460 / ISBN-13: 978-0374355463
(For readers ages 8 and up)

      She went to the window again and leaned over the ledge. Below her she could see the pale top of someone's head. Hanak had black hair like Dilly's. "Hello," she called.
      Whoever it was stepped away from the tower wall. "Nort?" Meg said, shocked. "What are you doing down there?"
      Nort held up an oversized spear. "Guarding you. What does it look like?"
      "You are not my guard!" Meg cried.
      "Am too."
      "Are not."
      "Am too."
      Meg paused. "Where's Hanak?"
      "He's busy at the castle," Nort said. "You've got me. Royal orders."
      "I'll give you a royal order, Nort the Short," Meg announced. "Go shoot yourself in the knees with a crossbow!"
      Nort laughed. "Come down and make me."
      With a furious strangled noise, Meg withdrew into the tower. She took a deep breath and surveyed her new domain. There had to be a way to get out of this place.

Honors and Awards

  • An American Library Association 2007 Notable Book

  • Included in The Best Children's Books of the Year—2007 edition, published by the Bank Street College of Education

  • Triangle-marked "Superior" rating in the Spring 2007 Horn Book Guide

  • 2008 Middle School California Collection (California Readers)

  • Georgia Children's Book Award Master List, 2008-2009

  • Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award Master List, 2009

  • Maine Student Book Award Nominee, 2007-2008

From the Publisher

"A dragon darkens our dells. A witch haunts our woods. Bandits roam our moors" . . . King Stromgard swept on. "In the tradition of so many monarchs, I offer my daughter's hand in marriage and half my kingdom to the prince who can rid us of these evils, restoring peace and prosperity to our realm."

And so the contest in the Kingdom of Greeve begins. But Princess Margaret is not your traditional princess. Meg firmly objects to her parents' giving her away, and she certainly has no intention of remaining in the tower where she is sequestered. Instead, she sets out to win the contest herself by enlisting the help of her good friend, her loyal maid, an eager guardsman, a young wizard, and a tenacious witch. Does Meg find her distinct place in the kingdom, or is she doomed to fulfill her royal duties?

Kate Coombs weaves a magical tale full of pesky princes, enchanted frogs, a beady-eyed scarf, and invisibility juice—a tale of wonder, but a story familiar to all who struggle to find their own place in the world.

From the Critics

from The Horn Book

With a wry humor that embraces modern sensibilities even as it sidesteps anachronisms, this delightfully devious girl-power fantasy cheerfully slices and dices every fairy-tale convention it encounters... Never predictable and frequently hilarious, this is an excellent addition to the bookshelves of Patricia C. Wrede fans.

from Kirkus Reviews

A delicious princess romp down the well-worn path first paved by The Practical Princess and followed by spunky royal girls ever since... A lot of tropes get stood on their heads here: Meg is imprisoned in a tower, for example, but doesn't take long to wriggle out of it; alert readers will catch references to everything from The Wizard of Oz to Monty Python... The language is witty and tart and funny, the pace is quick and, in the end, Meg gets to study not only administration and diplomacy, but magic and swordplay.

from Publishers Weekly

In this parody of traditional fairy tale motifs, first-time novelist Coombs introduces a host of comical heroes, heroines, villains and buffoons. Meg, the only daughter of King Stromgard and Queen Istilda, is not your ordinary princess... Employing her wits, agility, and quite a lot of help from Cam, the gardener's boy, and Dilly, the princess's personal maid, Meg manages to escape her prison and embark on the wildest adventure of her life... Reminiscent of Shrek and Once Upon a Mattress, this pleasingly twisty tale offers rib-tickling surprises around every corner.

from a young Amazon.com reviewer

This book was awsome! In my English class we had to pick a book for pleasure reading. I choose this one and believe me, it was PLEASURE reading. I couldn't put it down! The characters are so real and you find yourself rooting for them. This book is a clever twist on any fairy tale you've ever known. You'll find yourself laughing out loud and counting down the minutes till you can read it again. The twists, turns and halarious plot and characters make "The Runaway Princess" a must read!

from VOYA

This clever debut novel features a spunky and likeable heroine in Meg. Decrying the role of swooning, beautiful princess, she faces her family's disapproval with admirable intelligence and courage, giving a new twist to the classic princess story... This light, humorous fantasy has appealing, well-rounded characters... Readers who enjoy Donna Napoli's fractured fairy tales or the spunky heroines in Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 1997/VOYA August 1997) and Margaret Haddix's Just Ella (Simon & Schuster, 1999/VOYA December 1999) will enjoy this nontraditional fairy tale.

from JournalNow

When a princess book opens with the queen admonishing her daughter not to pick her nose, you know this isn't going to be your standard princess fare... This rollicking read is hilarious—empowerment for any girl who wants to be both a princess and the president.
Reviewer: Monica Young at www.journalnow.com

from School Library Journal

Coombs's good-natured tale is as comfortable poking fun at established fairy-tale tropes as it is honoring them. Readers will have no difficulty rooting for Meg, and the story as a whole is a pleasurable read with amusing details and witty twists. Pair this rousing adventure with Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 1997).
Reviewer: Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library

from Booklist

Coombs, who also wrote The Secret Keeper (2006), has created another strong heroine who eschews the trappings of her birth in the pursuit of truth, justice, and adventure. Reminiscent of Jean Ferris' Once upon a Marigold (2002) and M. M. Kaye's The Ordinary Princess (1984), this witty, humorous tale will be popular with fantasy buffs who enjoy takeoffs on fairy tales.
Reviewer: Kay Weisman

from hiplibrariansbookblog (5 stars)

This is not your average fairy tale and I loved it! Meg is far from your helpless damsel in distress but a strong and fiercely independent princess who can take care of herself and save her kingdom. Great characters, lots of action and humor make this a quick and enjoyable read that is difficult to put down. Readers will be looking for more adventures of Meg and her friends.
Reviewer: Alissa at Hip Librarian's Book Blog

Home |  Books |  About Kate |  For Readers |  For Writers |  For Teachers

Copyright © 2006 - Kate Coombs, All Rights Reserved
website designed by Jaleroro Web Designs