Cover image for The Invisible Princess
The Invisible Princess
Ringgold, Faith.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Crown Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
30 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Mama and Papa Love have a child, the Invisible Princess, who saves them and the other plantation slaves from their cruel master so that they can all find happiness in the Invisible Village of Peace, Freedom, and Love.
Reading Level:
AD 830 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 5.5 0.5 35041.

Reading Counts RC K-2 5.3 2 Quiz: 23931 Guided reading level: P.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Born as a slave, a beautiful princess was made invisible by the Powers of Nature and whisked away by the Prince of Night even before her parents, Mama and Papa Love, could name her. Years pass, and Patience, the blind daughter of the evil plantation owner, Captain Pepper, has a vision of a beautiful black girl playing in the cotton fields. Captain Pepper, recalling the rumor of a slave child who mysteriously vanished, threatens the slaves and vows to harm Mama and Papa Love if the girl is not found. Patience hears his threats and warns the princess, who now makes herself known to her parents to help save them. She tells them of her magical and free life and that now is the time to fulfill the destiny given her by the Great Lady of Peace, who promised that she would one day grow up to bring freedom to the slaves on the plantation. Mama and Papa Love and all the slaves are made invisible, and together with the Invisible Princess they prosper in the Invisible Village of Peace, Freedom, and Love. An original African-American fairy tale set during the time of slavery, this beautiful, astonishing book from Coretta Scott King winner and Caldecott Honor winner Faith Ringgold will prove to be a treasure for years to come.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. Ringgold creates a tale with many of the elements of a classic fairy tale. Mama and Papa Love, who are slaves, fear that any child they have will be sold away from them, so when their beautiful daughter is born, they beg the Great Lady of Peace to protect her. The Lady gives the child, the Invisible Princess, to the Prince of Night, who keeps her hidden behind his great black cloak. When the wicked plantation owner's blind daughter, Patience, "sees" the Invisible Princess, the owner threatens to separate and sell Mama and Papa Love. But the Great Lady of Peace summons the Queen of Bees, whose honey cakes make those who consume them invisible, and all the slaves and Patience disappear after eating them. The slaveowner repents, full of sorrow without his daughter, but the Great Lady offers him the honey cakes, too. He and all the former slaves become part of the Invisible Village of Peace, Freedom, and Love; you can hear them singing, if you listen hard enough. Ringgold's text takes on too many tropes, but her illustrations are gorgeous: the Invisible Princess has a halo made of gold and her own braids; Patience and the Princess rise in the cotton fields like flowers; the hieratic Prince of Night glows in his rich darkness. The text pages facing the illustrations are printed on color--red, lavender, rose, turquoise--to great effect. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ringgold (Tar Beach) blends elements of fairy tale and American history in an evocative, if mystifying, picture book. When Mama and Papa Love, who are slaves in the southern Village of Visible, conceive a child, they beg the Great Lady of Peace to spare their baby from the cruel slave master Captain Pepper. Immediately after the girl's birth, she is miraculously whisked away by the magical Prince of Night and made invisible to human eyes. Only Captain Pepper's blind daughter, Patience, can see the Invisible Princess in all her glory, and her visions incite her father's ire. Patience and the Invisible Princess warn the slaves of impending danger, and the Great Lady of Peace and the Great Powers of Nature devise a plan to raise all of Captain Pepper's slaves up into the Invisible Village of Peace, Freedom and Love. The disjointed story shifts among several points of view, making the action difficult to follow. Because Ringgold squeezes folkloric elements into the concrete parameters of a particular era of history, her fantasy comes off as leaden and earthbound. Adding yet another layer to the allegory, scenes of slaves being stung by bees and raised "up, up, up above the jet-black clouds of night into the Invisible Village of Peace, Freedom, and Love" beg the comparison to Christian death and afterlife imagery. Ringgold's paintings of the deified Powers of Nature, especially the big-eyed Queen of Bees, ray-adorned Sun Goddess and the vampire-esque Prince of Night, have great presence and mythic proportions, but can't compensate for the tale's lack of internal logic. Ages 5-8. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-One day, the Great Lady of Peace visits Mama Love and tells her that she will have a beautiful daughter who will "bring peace, freedom and love" to the Village of Visible, where she and Papa Love reside. Wanting freedom from slavery for her child, Mama Love begs the Lady to hide the infant and keep her existence a secret from the slave master. When the baby is born, she is taken away, made invisible, and raised by the Great Powers of Nature, one of whom is the Great Giant of Trees, a tree with the face of a Native American, complete with headband, face paint, and braids. With the assistance of Patience, the plantation owner's blind daughter, and the Queen of the Bees, the girl eventually rescues her parents and the other slaves from their miserable existence. Ultimately, even the dreadful plantation owner Captain Pepper, looking like a benign Colonel Sanders, is forgiven. In most of the book, naive, lively paintings framed with narrow bands of color face pages of text set on brightly colored backgrounds. Because so many background colors are used and so many characters flow in and out of the pictures, the overall effect is somewhat disjointed. In general, the book is unsettling. Complicated and didactic, the melodramatic story is laden with confusing allegorical imagery and touches of whimsy. The Invisible Princess misses the mark.-Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.