The Crystal Prince by Jeanette Clinger Hurley
(Summary taken from the back book cover) “Escape into a world of spellbinding adventure, a world where kindness is king, a world where faith and imagination separate life from death, a world where love is the key that unlocks both mystery and magic…Escape into the world of The Crystal Prince. Come along and join the charmed Prince Xabian and the beautiful Jenevieve on their enchanted and courageous journey, as they discover…The heart is mightier than the sword, that faith conquers fear and that the true magical and transformational miracle of life is simple and pure…That love is the way, love is the only way.”
I enjoyed this book. It is a fast, easy read that packs a huge message. The story takes you from a warm, welcoming castle to a hideous cave hide-out. From nice and loving people to mean, hard-hearted ugly creatures. Prince Xabian has a choice to make: let bitterness and hatred take over or make the best of a difficult situation. The message of love is powerful and strong. I thought the contrast between the people of the castle and the Ganthites was striking, and I enjoyed seeing the transformation of the Ganthites. I find the message useful in everyday life. I tell my kids almost every day that they have a choice to make to have a positive attitude or have a bad day. This book reinforces that message and more. I liked the illustrations as well.
I did have a few unanswered questions. For instance, how did a pillow get in the cave and how did it turn into his crystal pillow? How did these same people live for a thousand years? It is fantasy so these questions maybe don’t need answering, but they were confusing to me. Overall, I thought it was well written and I enjoyed the message. I would recommend it. If a 4th grader is going to read it by himself I would suggest going through with him and pronouncing the difficult names.
Rating PG: Some violence (kidnapping, fighting, harsh treatment of the Prince)
Recommendation: 4th grade and up. As stated earlier, if a 4th grader is to read it by himself I would go through and help him with the pronunciation of the difficult names beforehand. I would also discuss the book with him afterward and talk about the message of love and making each day the best it can be. It is a great book for a teaching moment! This may be too much for some 4th graders, so it is always best for each parent to read it first and decide what is best for each student.