Robe of Skulls, The: The First Tale from the Five Kingdoms
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Robe of Skulls, The: The First Tale from the Five Kingdoms (Tales from the Five Kingdoms #1)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  664 ratings  ·  163 reviews
Trouble is brewing in the first book of the Tales from the Five Kingdoms series. The sorceress Lady Lamorna wants a skull-studded gown of deep black velvet but finds her treasure chest empty of gold. That doesn't stop her from kidnapping, blackmailing, and using more than a little magic to get what she needs. Will all her best-laid plans be foiled by the heroic Gracie Gill...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio (first published June 4th 2007)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Tasha for

Just above the town of Fracture lies a ghastly castle with an even ghastlier occupant, Lady Lamorna, who is just plain freaky. Her latest wish is a magnificent black velvet gown that is studded with skulls. When she goes to pay for it she finds that her treasure chest is empty. Instead of canceling her order, Lady Lamorna concocts a plan to pay for the dress.

Her plan includes a couple of members of the royal party, some frogs, and blackmail.

Then there is G...more
“The Robe of Skulls” has a very neat plot with several interesting characters: Gracie and Prince Marcus, Lady Lamorna and Gubble, Foyce and Mange (Gracie’s step-sister and father), not forgetting the two bats, Marlon and his daughter Millie who serve as guides and protectors. The wicked Lady Lamorna is short of cash and devises a cruel plan to generate income; her cunning plan is taken over by the even more cunning Foyce. At the same time Gracie escapes from her unpleasant home situation and mee...more
Sondra Santos
I'm nearly finished with this fast-paced read from Candlewick Press.

Vivian French is a fabulous writer and the plot, characters and even the names of the people and places come together superbly to create a believable fantasy world of sorcerers, wizards, goblins and laugh-out-loud situations that will appeal to readers of all ages.

This is book one in a series and I can't wait to discover more.
Tina Rath

A friend drew my attention to this book, as it looked like my sort of thing and it is, it so is. From the very beginning when the evil (but ageing) sorceress Lady Lamorna is introduced thinking about ordering a new gown in black velvet, embroidered with spiders’ webs, poison ivy and skulls, with ‘rows and rows of dear little skulls sewn all along the hem’ and ‘layers and layers of blood-red petticoats’ I knew I was at home (I want that gown too). But she needs gold to pay the Ancient Crones and...more
Oct 02, 2008 Mary rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 4th-7th grade fairy tale fans
Shelves: ya, children-s
Lady Lamorna - a down on her luck sorceress - orders a new robe of skulls from the Ancient Crones and then has to figure out how to pay for it. With a little help from her troll slave, she decides to turn princes into frogs, then offer her services (at a steep price) to their families in order to change them back.
In the meantime, Gracie Gillypot longs for a better life away from her nasty stepfather and her evil stepsister, Foyce. With the help of a talking bat, Gracie escapes her stepfamily an...more
Kasey H
In the time that we've had no Good Reads, I have started a new book! This book, nobody has really heard about. I'm still trying to figure out if this book is part of a series or not. Well, by now, your probably wondering what book I'm about to write about. Robe of Skulls! Yes! That is the book I'm reading! The Robe of Skulls, is by Vivian French. Very fancy name, right? The authors name contributes to how fancy this book is. While I'm talking about what's so fancy, I might as well tell you abou...more
In a very Tim Burton-y world, an evil sorceress wants a new outfit. (That's her in the outfit on the cover.) Unfortunately, somebody has swiped all her gold--a mystery which (**spoiler alert!**) is never solved in this book--so to pay for the dress, she has to raise some more cash. She hatches a fiendish plot, and with her slave troll, leaves her castle for the first time in ages.

French creates a pretty interesting fantasy world and put some fun bad guys in it, but then doesn't seem to know what...more
Lovely! A mix of Matilda, Harry Potter, and The Phantom Toll Booth! Nice, slightly macabe illustrations and several amusing, intertwining stories full of talking bats, blood read petticoats, old crones, and frog princes. And in the end, good triumphs over evil, as it should in such a fairy tale!
I loved The Robe of Skulls! I stumbled on it during my perusal of Overdrive my elibrary and thought the cover looked awesome, checked out the synopsis and thought it sounded fun. I was right on both scores and was delighted to find several illustrations throughout the book in the same style as the cover.

This was just a fun read all around, light hearted and yet suspenseful at times too. Would Foncey and Lady Lamorney get their way and snatch Gracie as well? The cast of characters was a real trea...more
A great romping adventure. I loved both the Truehearts and the villains, especially the wickedest step sister ever, but it was the chatty bats who kept me laughing the whole way through. I now want my own fleet of friendly bats to pop by daily and say “Keep it up, kiddo!”
Tamora Pierce
Nov 06, 2008 Tamora Pierce rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Holly Black's Spiderwick fans, Lemony Snicket fans who like fantasy
Recommended to Tamora by: I just saw it on the shelves and liked both cover and premise
What great fun! Advisor bats, a half-werewolf beautiful enemy, and a spell for turning royals into frogs! I think Holly Black's Spiderwick fans would like this one--I certainly did!
Christina *Cantarella*
This book is probably the only fairytale filled with epicness.
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...more
Charlyn  Trussell
Nov 17, 2009 Charlyn Trussell rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gr. 5 and up
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, magic
The abundant silver skulls on the cover of this book might make me wonder about its appropriateness for an elementary audience were it not for the fact that I have first grade princesses wearing pink shirts with rhinestone-studded skulls on them. It is the tall figure of Lady Lamorna on the cover wearing the dress she has ordered from the Ancient Crones, looking much more elegant than she is in the book. She has a bit of a problem: she has no way to pay for her dream dress. With magic on her si...more
The Lady Lamorna wants nothing more than a beautifully hideous new dress. A dress with skulls all along the hem and a motif of poison ivy and spiders' webs with blood-red petticoats. There is only one problem: her supply of gold is running a bit short. So she conceives of a wonderfully awful plan to turn the princes of the neighboring kingdoms into frogs and then offer the grieved parents her services in returning them to their royal selves--services that will cost enough to refill her money che...more
Lady Lomorna wants a magnificent custom made dress, but she finds that she doesn't have any money to buy it. There is also Gracie Gillypot, a girl who is treated like a slave by her stepdad and evil stepsister, Foyce, who is also a werewolf. Then there is curios Prince Marcus, whose brother, Prince Arry will be the future king of their kingdom. To fix their problems, they all set out on journeys, but in the end, their journeys will link, and create one major problem. In the end, Foyce is punishe...more
Karyn The Pirate
Gracie Gillypot lives with her mean stepfather, Munge, and her even meaner stepsister, Foyce. It was said that Foyce is as mean as Cinderella's two stepsisters rolled into one, she just isn't ugly. Gracie herself is a bit like Cinderella: kind; loving; hard-working; and very, very downtrodden. When we first meet Gracie she is shut in the cellar for being cheerful. But with a little help from a bat friend, Gracie sets out on an adventure that will take her farther than she knows. Add a scruffy pr...more
Wandering Librarians
When thinking of this book, the phrase "delightful romp" comes to mind. Add to that Renee Raudman's absolutely awesome reading and you have an absolutely compelling audiobook.

I probably would have enjoyed this book just reading it to myself. It has all of the elements that make it fabulous: humor, endearing characters, exciting chases, and absolutely entertaining villains. The plot is slightly predictable, but the dialogue makes up for the slightly formulaic storyline.

There are some references t...more
A feiticeira Lady Lamorna quer comprar um vestido de veludo preto cravejado de crânios, mas não tem dinheiro para o pagar. Quando encontra uma rapariga chamada Foyce que se quer vingar da meia-irmã, Gracie, ambas arranjam um plano que resolve o problema da Lady Lamorna. Apenas têm de raptar sete príncipes, transformá-los em sapos e obrigar os seus pais a pagar o resgate.
Este livro, para mim, é a mistura de uma pitada de Disney e de macabro, em que o resultado é absolutamente delicioso e hilaria...more
Despite it's sinister title, this is a book that is appropriate for 9 yrs plus.
Good wins over evil, but the worst evil is a sorceress who turns princes into frogs and a beautiful girl that is actually part werewolf who is not nice to her step-sister, Gracie.
Plot summary:
Evil sorceress orders a brand new robe/dress from the Ancient Crones. As soon as her order is placed she finds that her coffers are empty. Distressed at what the Ancient ones will do to her if they are not paid she comes up with...more
I must admit this is a book where I saw the cover and immediately wanted to read it. After reading the description it sounded amusing, so I picked it up from the library. This is the First Tale from the Five Kingdoms by Vivian French. Last I heard she was contracted for five books in this series. It was an amusing read.

The Sorceress Lady Lamorna wants a new gown, but she doesn't have any gold. So she devises a plan to turn princes into frogs and blackmail their parents to pay her money to turn t...more
From the cover, you might think this is a dark book. In fact, it is lighthearted story that will have you laughing while following the quirky cast of characters. It also teaches good morals to boot.

The Tim Burton-like drawings attracted me to this book. The illustrations are absolutely stunning. Ross Collins does an excellent job at illustrating French’s characters in a whimsical way. The gothic illustrations also help set the mood of the book.

The characters are well written. They are your typic...more
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This is a very cute fairy tale that is easy to read and sweetly illustrated. I enjoyed reading it to my 9 year old - I think it is ideal for tweens or those just before that age. The story might be a bit too simple for older kids since its protagonists are two young children.

There's a nice balance between magic and fantasy - picture the world of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White and you have an idea of the backd...more
This was a very fast and entertaining book. It took me 2 subway rides and breakfast to finish, and it was worth every second.
Lady Lamorna, a sorceress, wants to order a new dress from the Ancient Crones, but after placing the order realizes she is completely broke. So, she hatches a plan to turn all of the princes and princesses in the near kingdoms and then make their parents pay large sums of money to turn them back. With the help of Foyce, a half wearworlf and evil stepsister, Lady Lamorna s...more
Just above the town of Fracture lies a ghastly castle with an even ghastlier occupant Lady Lamorna, who is just plain freaky. Her latest wish is a magnificent black velvet gown that is studded with skulls. When she goes to pay for it she finds that her treasure chest is empty. Instead of canceling her order, Lady Lamorna concocts a plan to pay for that dress. Her plan includes a couple of members of the royal party, some frogs, and blackmail.

Then there is Gracie Gillypot. I shy girl who spends m...more
Evil sorceress Lady Lamorna is determined to have a chillingly beautiful new robe, embroidered with skulls and spiderwebs and all sorts of other evil things. There's only one problem: her treasure chest is empty.

Naturally, there is only one thing to do: an evil scheme involving magic powder, turning frogs into princes, and demanding a ransom to turn them back.

Unfortunately for Lady Lamorna, there are some opposing forces at work: the goodhearted, much-abused Gracie Gillypot, a couple of chatty b...more
The very evil Lady Lamorna fancies a new dress made of the deepest, darkest black velvet encrusted with silvery skulls. She puts in her order with the Ancient Crones sent by bat messenger, Marlon. When she finds her treasure chest empty, however, she realizes there is no way to pay for her gorgeously wicked new dress. Lady Lamorna will stop at nothing to get the gold to pay for her dress. She resorts to blackmail, kidnapping, and all sorts of treachery. Her one true talent rests in turning princ...more
Nesa Sivagnanam
Here we have a bad prince who is really not the least bit evil, a beautiful but nasty stepsister, a beleaguered but brave little girl named Gracie, and a talking bat.

Lady Lamorna, an aging, evil sorceress, sets off to buy herself a grotesque gown, while at the same time Marlon the bat rescues Gracie from her cellar prison and leads her into the wilderness and the eventual safety of a group of old crones.

Meanwhile, Prince Marcus has been left at home for bad behavior and is thus happily passed...more
What a fun story! This reminded me of a Disney movie, with broad caricatures for characters (the main baddie could almost be Cruella deVil!) and witty dialogue, and narrow escapes. Lady Lamorna (that baddie I mentioned) is a sorceress who wants a new dress--a dress of black velvet with skulls and spiderwebs and spooky stuff on it. But after it's ordered she realizes she has no money! So, what's an evil witch to do? Why, cast some spells and do a little kidnapping and hatch an evil scheme, of cou...more
A optimist orphan, mischievous prince, werewolf girl, evil sorceress, vile troll, talkative bats and ancient crones make up this quick fairy tale. Lady Larmona, the sorceress, wants a dress of skulls, but she has nothing to pay to the ancient crones, so she is off with her troll servent, Gubble, to turn the kingdoms royalty to frogs. Meanwhile, Gracie, our young optimist, is neglected at the hands of her stepfather and his daughter, Foyce, the werewolf, and she runs away with the help of a bat....more
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Vivian French was best known in school for being extremely skinny and for talking a lot. At school she developed an attachment to words and later became an actor, then a storyteller, and finally a writer of children's books. She is the author of more than two hundred books. Ms. French lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has four grown daughters.
More about Vivian French...
Yucky Worms Princess Charlotte and the Birthday Ball (The Tiara Club, #1) Princess Alice and the Magical Mirror (The Tiara Club, #4) The Bag of Bones (Tales from the Five Kingdoms, #2) Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse

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