The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French

robe of skulls

The Robe of skulls
Vivian French
Illustrated by Ross Collins
4 Stars

Sorceress Lady Lamorna wants to get a new robe, a robe made out of skulls. The only trouble is that she doesn’t have any gold. So she decides to go and turn all the princes and princesses into frogs so their royal parents will have to pay to have them changed back. Then there is Gracie Gillypot who is forced to work as a servant in her own home by her evil stepfather and her extremely wicked step sister. When a bat comes and offers her a chance to escape her life by going to work for the Ancient Crones (the ones charged to make the robe of skulls), Gracie jumps at the chance. But of course the fact that her stepsister is half werewolf has complicated the escape. And now Lady Lamorna is off to find some young royalty. Of course everything gets totally tangled together and readers will wonder just how it will all work out.

This is a fun little story that youngsters who like fantasy but don’t want their fantasy to be too gory, complex, or long will enjoy. Gracie is a fun character to cheer on. And so is Prince Marcus. And all the talking bats. Okay, so most of these characters are great. And the ones who aren’t “good” heroes or heroines are so bad they are “good” characters in their own way. Basically this is an all-around great edition to the elementary school aged fantasy genre. There is just enough magic and tangled plots that kids won’t know what will happen next. Yet it is all written in such a way that young kiddos will still grasp what is going on and can enjoy it all. Well done.

Book Discussion Questions:
If you needed to earn gold fast, what would you do to get it?
If you could get a new magical robe made, what would you want it to be like?
Why does Gracie decide to go work for the Ancient Crones? Would you do that?
If you could talk to a talking bat, what would you want to talk about? What other type of animals would you want to talk to?
Why did Prince Marcus want to stay at home?

Candlewick press, 2008
Isbn 978-0-7636-3531-2
Format fantasy
Ages elementary school

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