Written by Jean Ferris
Happily-ever-after isn’t as easy as it sounds. King Christian and Queen Marigold are as much in love as ever. They are thrilled with their new baby girl, Poppy. Marigold thinks the only thing she has to worry about is what gifts the fairies might give at Poppy’s Welcome Party. Then, the unthinkable happens. Princess Poppy is kidnapped by the ex-torturer-in-chief and the ex-poisoner-in-chief as revenge for losing their jobs when the evil Queen Olympia was removed from the throne. That was in the prior books of the Marigold trilogy. This book brings in Phoebe and Sebastian, the children of the Terrible Twos, Boris and Vlad, the torturer and poisoner in question. They are ashamed of their heritage and keep as low a profile as possible. Phoebe is the librarian and Sebastian is a blacksmith. Phoebe intercepts a message about the kidnapping and, with Sebastian’s help, tries to alert the castle that a plot is brewing, but they are not in time. They ask if they can go along on the rescue mission because they know Boris and Vlad better than anyone. They each have the secret desire to make up for the bad things their fathers have done. It seems, too, that Phoebe and Sebastian understand one another better than anyone else ever has. The madcap rescue has all the elements of an epic adventure: royal guards, a retired wizard, an elephant and a fire-breathing dragon as well as a dramatic rescue of both baby and mother. There could even be love in the works, too.
With a delightful, tongue-in-cheek voice and zany plot twists, this would be a great class read aloud. Students might demand to hear all three books in the series! Jean Ferris says on her website (http://www.jeanferris.com/) that she had no intention of writing a sequel to Once Upon a Marigold, but, in that story, she wanted to give her readers the message to be ready for whatever comes along in life. She now has written two more Marigold books and introduces readers to Phoebe and Sebastian. These two characters have not had an easy life. A Venn diagram could be the perfect way to compare Phoebe and Sebastian’s character traits as a literacy activity. Thrice Upon a Marigold would make a fun book trailer, too.