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Fatima invites her friends to visit her sister and brother?in?law, Selime and Ahmed. The girls sense something suspicious when Ahmed's father becomes deathly ill, and then Ahmed goes missing. Ahmed's cousin Yusuf just might be to blame, but it's up to the princesses to solve this mystery.
Fatima invites her friends to visit her sister and brother–in–law, Selime and Ahmed. The girls sense something suspicious when Ahmed's father becomes deathly ill, and then Ahmed goes missing. Ahmed's cousin Yusuf just might be to blame, but it's up to the princesses to solve this mystery.
In the second book in this fantasy series, Fatima lives with her sister's family in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. The 12-year-old babysits her nephew, despite the protests of her brother-in-law, Ahmed, who worries that she is too irresponsible for the job. When she flies away on a magic carpet, leaving the baby in the care of a maid, he is furious. Upon Fatima's return, Selime, believing that her sister is lonely, allows her to invite her princess friends for a visit. Also visiting is Ahmed's beguiling cousin, Yusuf. Mystery ensues when Ahmed is kidnapped and Yusuf begins redecorating the palace. Of course, the princesses, with the help of the magic carpet, uncover Yusuf's plot. This is a disappointing story. The characters seem like caricatures: Ahmed is always angry, Selime is sweet, Fatima is flighty but has a good heart, and Yusuf is smart but evil. The book's pace and suspense increase toward the end, but the solution is predictable. The accompanying cartoons are mediocre at best.
—Elaine Lesh MorganCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
All right reserved.
Princess Fatima shifted in her chair and glanced longingly at her flying carpet leaning against the Royal Nursery wall. She'd give anything to be on her carpet right now, soaring over the countryside.
A soft cry drew her attention to the sleeping baby in her lap. Fatima studied her nephew's bald head. It looked like a squashed pumpkin and was much too big for his body. Drool wet his chin. When he was awake, all Prince Hassim did was burp, spit up, and cry. Boring.
Fatima wondered what her friends--the princesses Lysandra, Elena, and Tansy--were doing right now. Two months had passed since they'd first met. Two l-o-n-g months. Whatever her princess friends were up to had to be a lot more exciting than this.
Fatima sighed. She didn't really like babysitting, but she hadn't wanted to refuse when her sister, Selime, had asked for her help. After all, Fatima didn't get to see Selime very often. Even by flying carpet, it took two whole days to reach the palace where her sister and brother-in-law, Prince Ahmed, lived.
Rising carefully so as not to wake him, Fatima carried Hassim to his Royal Cradle. Laying the sleeping baby down, she tiptoed away. With any luck, maybe he'd nap for a couple of hours. Then she'd be free to do something fun for achange. Perhaps she could even get out of the palace for a while.
Fatima glanced at her carpet again. Would it be so wrong to take a quick flight into town and spend a few minutes wandering through the bazaar? She hadn't flown anywhere in the past two weeks. She longed to run her fingers through the colorful silk scarves and sample the honeyed stuffed dates the merchants sold.
But even as Fatima thought about leaving, a stern voice echoed inside her head. It was Prince Ahmed's voice, scolding her for nearly dropping baby Hassim when she had run with him down the hall last night. She'd only wanted to be in time to see the acrobats perform in the Grand Hall before dinner!
Later, when she came to Ahmed and Selime's room to apologize, she'd overheard him talking with her sister. "Fatima is much too young and irresponsible to take care of Hassim," he'd declared.
Hidden behind the door, Fatima had imagined the frown on his less-than-handsome face, with eyebrows that were too bushy and a nose that was somewhat pointed. Prince Ahmed was no Prince Charming--except, of course, to her sister.
"She's twelve," Selime had said. "That's old enough."
"For some girls, perhaps," Ahmed had replied. "But Fatima is too impulsive. She does things without considering if her actions could be dangerous. Hassim could get hurt!"
"Babies are always getting hurt," Selime had said calmly. "Why, just the other day, he grabbed at my tiara while I was holding him and scratched his little arm."
Fatima felt a rush of gratitude toward her sister for sticking up for her. Honestly! Prince Ahmed was so overprotective. When it came to Hassim, he was fussier than a mother hen with her chicks. Instead of apologizing, Fatima had turned on her heels and gone back to her room.
Now, a knock on the Royal Nursery door made Fatima jump. She hurried to open it. "Shh," she said to the kitchen maid standing outside. "Prince Hassim is asleep."
The kitchen maid was a skinny girl with rosy cheeks. As she lowered her eyes and curtsied, her long, dark pigtail fell over one shoulder. "Pardon me, Princess. The Royal Chef sent me to ask what you'd like for lunch."
A large helping of free time, Fatima almost said. Then an idea popped into her head. "What's your name?" she asked.
"Nar, Your Highness," the girl replied.
"How old are you, Nar?"
Fatima nodded. If she, at twelve, was old enough to watch a baby, surely a girl of fourteen was even better. Besides, it would only be for a short while.
A few minutes later Fatima sailed through the Royal Nursery window on her flying carpet, headed for the bazaar. Nar had been only too happy to watch Hassim. She'd sunk into a chair and put up her feet, obviously glad for a chance to rest.
The wind rippled through Fatima's silk blouse and tossed her long hair as she skillfully guided her carpet toward town. Swooping over roofs and colorful lines of laundry that flapped in the breeze, Fatima inhaled the fresh, sweet air and relaxed. She could fly as easily as a fish could swim.
Just outside the tents of the bazaar, Fatima landed under a large palm tree. She rolled up her flying carpet, strapped it onto her back, and strode barefoot into the bazaar. It buzzed with the sounds of shouting merchants, haggling customers, squawking chickens, and bawling camels.
Pushing through crowds of turbaned men and perfumed women, Fatima made her way from one end of the bazaar to the other. Along the way she admired bolts of satin, carpets, and colorful silk scarves. It would've been even more fun if her friends had been with her. Together they might have stumbled upon an adventure, like when they'd found the frog prince in the marketplace near Lysandra's castle.
Hungry because she hadn't eaten lunch, Fatima bought some dates sweetened with honey and stuffed with almonds. They were delicious! Licking her fingers, she sighed with contentment. It was wonderful to escape from the palace. But Fatima supposed she'd better get back since she'd promised Nar she wouldn't be gone long.
On her way out of the bazaar, a display of beautiful leather sandals caught Fatima's eye. She didn't usually wear shoes of any kind, but these sandals were fabulous! The leather bands were carved with intricate designs of birds and flowers.
"Go ahead. Try them on," coaxed the merchant.
Fatima did. But choosing just the right pair, and getting the merchant to agree to a fair price . . .
Excerpted from Princess Power #2: The Charmingly Clever Cousin
by Suzanne Williams
Copyright © 2006 by Suzanne Williams.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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