** spoiler alert ** I read this book originally as a 4th grader and when I saw it again (I was cleaning the basement), I thought that I might reread it because I had very nearly forgotten everything in the story. And so I did.
First, a little recap on the story. There was this boy named Christian who ran away from home when he was a wee lad. He ended up being raised and cared for in a cave by a gruff but loving troll named Ed. And then there was Marigold, who was a princess that Christian often saw across the river on her terrace. To him, Marigold had seemed lonely and in a great need of a friend, so one day he decided to use the P-mail (pigeon mail) to strike up a conversation with her, starting with a simple message, "What are you reading?" And from then on, Marigold and Christian become best friends, all the while never having actually met each other, by sending messages to each other through p-mail. Then came the day when Ed deemed Christian fit and old enough to go off into the world to become a man. And where does Christian go first? None other than the castle, where he uncovers a most troubling plan, and faces his growing feelings toward the princess, all the while attempting to keep his identity from Marigold. And as for the rest of the story, it's a sweet and funny read all the way home.
Now, as for the actual story, I thought it was pretty entertaining and quirky. There were times when I was annoyed at Christian for his actions, but it was what made him so cute and innocent. The writing itself was nicely done, though the style is not as heavy as I'm used to. It's a nice read to lighten up the the mood, and it makes you chuckle at a lot of the corny parts. The reason why I gave this 3 stars instead of 4 was because there were a lot of parts, especially toward the end, where it was just too unrealistic. The characters reacted to certain things in a matter that I'm sure no one would do in their right mind. Including the part where Marigold's mother "dies" and the only thing that she, her sisters and father say is essentially "good riddance"- and I'm pretty sure none of them truly hated her enough to say that.
Overall, this book was quite enjoyable. It had the fairy-tale element in it, as well as a fun twist that the author successfully captured. I'm looking forward for another light and fun read from the squeal, Twice Upon A Marigold :)