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Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
The Sparrow Princess by Russell Whitehead - with interior illustrations by Laura DuBose - is a fairytale-style fantasy geared toward the middle grade/young adult audience. This tantalizing tale begins simply with a young child princess losing her mother and her father, the Queen and King, yet the story is compelling and engaging right from the start, especially due to some amazingly unique and creative plotting with just the right twists and turns to pull any curious reader in, young or not. When time and circumstances prevail that transform the princess from an older teen into a sparrow, the interest hook has been well set. But when a council of animals reveals the historical incidents leading to this strange transformation, one begins truly to appreciate what a complex and fascinating tapestry of storytelling has here been woven. That is, things get really good.
In The Sparrow Princess, Russell Whitehead maintains a precisely consistent voice geared to his young audience, but the artistry of his plotting will also satisfy the adult reader. One must also give admiring kudos to Laura DuBose for her understated but perfectly complementary drawings used to illustrate and augment this lovely tale. Whitehead treats fate and karma and destiny as active weavers involved in a morally-dependent creation, lending a deterministic but appealing relief to otherwise implausible coincidences. One begins to suspect, however, that this might very well be the point of this well-told story that ends with a message of reunion, redemption, and that most appealing story element of all: true love.