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It’s easy to see how a new neighbor who is “hulking and hairy, / fearsome and scary” could make a bad first impression on everyone in the kingdom—or practically everyone, anyway. Despite a few unfortunate incidents during certain royal events, young Pru thinks he might just be lonely…and so neither she nor cannier readers will share the general terror when he begins buying up cupcakes by the score, a mountain of snacks, gobs of craft supplies, and lots of balloons. And indeed, when she rides up the hill on her ostrich with her three pet tarantulas in tow (Pru’s life, Fergus writes, “was practically perfect”), the ensuing party is the best in memory and the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The darker of the tan-skinned princess’s dads sports an outsize turban and a handlebar mustache; the other has skin the same color as Pru’s. Mohiuddin’s humorous cartoon illustrations depict a diverse populace more than willing, once the ice is broken, to give the grinning gray monster the benefit of the doubt. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

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