Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris: Book Review

Once Upon a Marigold

Jean Ferris’ novel, Once Upon a Marigold (2002) is as much a modern fairy tale, as it is a plucky romance. Wholly suitable for younger tweens as it would be fun for the older set, the novel is a humorous take on kingdoms, princesses and lowly servant boys.

Christian, or Chris to his only friend, Ed the troll, ran away from home when he was just a young boy. Raised in a cave by a stubborn troll and two dogs, Christian quickly grew into a capable young man. He spent his days tinkering with new inventions, scavenging the woods for treasures, and caring for Ed.

Though, once he spotted Princess Marigold lounging on her terrace, he could think of little else. Utilizing a pair of messenger pigeons, Christian began an innocent correspondence with the princess. As he learned more about her, his feelings for her grew. It was not long until he became determined to move to the castle and take a job as a servant boy, hoping to be closer to his beloved Marigold.

As a servant boy, it did not take long before he had the chance to talk to Marigold. It also did not take him long to get into serious trouble. Between running from jealous boyfriends, and learning that Marigold was entertaining two royal suitors, life quickly became less of a fairy tale and more of a horror story for young Chris.

It would require a feat of the imagination for Chris to solve his problems and convince Marigold of his intentions. With nothing less than fairy tale worthy finish, Ferris follows through with the comedic action that make this such a pleasant read.

Young people who once enjoyed fairy tales would be reminded of the stories of their youth. Ferris’ clever play on words allows this novel to be appreciated by young and older teens alike. More a fairy tale than an adventure story, I imagine that it would especially people to young girls. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that this novel would also make for a fun read aloud to young children, as well.

Number of pages: 288

Lexile: 840

Age range: 10-14

Quick Book Talk

Christian has a serious crush on Marigold. Only problem is he is not good enough for her. She’s a princess and he is a nobody. That doesn’t stop Christian from trying to get Marigold to notice him. In fact, Christian would do just about anything, including risking his life, to get to know her.

Once Upon a Marigold is a fairy tale complete with trolls, fairies, evil queens and beautiful princesses. Only this fairy tale will cause you to laugh, groan, and root heartily for the underdog, Christian, as he tries to stay alive long enough to tell Marigold of his undying love.

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