In Maggie Archer’s delightful tale, we follow the egotistical Prince Harvey. He has a lush life as the only child of the King and Queen of Avaria, a idyllic, plentiful land. Harvey is the archetypal prince: handsome, talented, charming, born to rule. He is highly thought of by the ladies and he knows it. The story picks up as Harvey’s ego brings ruin upon him. After humiliating the daughter of a powerful witch at the royal ball, Harvey is transformed into a scarecrow and cast out of his kingdom to an orchard in a land he has never seen before.
Lucky for Harvey, a princess frequents this particular orchard. As she relaxes in the beautiful countryside, she finds herself confiding her problems in her friend, the scarecrow.
Archer’s writing carries the story along swiftly and beautifully, and The Scarecrow and the Princess is free from many of the cliches that I’ve always felt tend to bog down children’s fairy tales. These characters and their reactions to Harvey’s predicament feel genuine. There is no magical kiss and a princess immediately whisked away, no children being married or parents that use their kids as political pawns. I loved the dynamic between the families of each kingdom and the rapport between Harvey and the princess. I recommend this highly to and as a gift for any middle-grade lovers of fantasy and fairy tales.