Princess Pulverizer may not be a knight yet, but she won't let that stop her from saving the day!
Princess Pulverizer dreams of becoming a knight. Dribble the dragon, a companion on her Quest of Kindness, dreams of becoming a chef. So he's thrilled when he gets the chance to open a pop-up restaurant in the village they're visiting (though he has to stay hidden, since people are still pretty scared of dragons). But a jealous juggler isn't pleased with their arrival, and mysterious problems begin to arise. Villagers feel sick to their stomachs, then a barn burns to the groundand Dribble is blamed! Can Princess Pulverizer help her friend before things go up in flames?
Praise for Princess Pulverizer: Grilled Cheese and Dragons
[*]"Very funny series . . ." Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A wacky adventure that stands out through highlighting its heroine's foibles, giving her plenty of room to grow in future installments." Kirkus
"This spirited chapterbook is an obvious choice for Princess in Black grads and Hamster Princess fans." Booklist
"A strong series opener and a solid choice for those looking to increase their early chapter book holdings." School Library Journal
About the Author
Nancy Krulik is the author of more than two hundred books for children and young adults, including three New York Times Best Sellers. She is best known as the author and creator of the Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo; George Brown, Class Clown; How I Survived Middle School; and Magic Bone book series. Nancy lives in Manhattan with her husband, composer Daniel Burwasser. When she's not writing, Nancy can be found reading, going to concerts, traveling, or running around Central Park with her crazy beagle mix, Josie. Follow her @NancyKrulik.
Justin Rodrigues is a character designer and visual development artist based in Los Angeles, California. Justin has worked on a variety of projects in the animation, video game, and entertainment industries. Some of his credits include: Harvey Street Kids, DuckTales, and What's New Scooby Doo? He has worked in varying capacities for acclaimed studios, including Dreamworks Animation, Walt Disney Television Animation, Red Games, Fisher-Price, and many more. Justin loves cocktails, coffee, and Frank Sinatra and is currently drawing, creating, and living in Sherman Oaks, CA.
Read an Excerpt
“Get your grilled cheese here!” Dribble the dragon shouted as he held up plates of perfectly melted mozzarella and tomato sandwiches.
“Best grilled cheese in the whole world,” Dribble’s best friend, Lucas, added.
“Well, I don’t know about that,” Dribble’s other pal, Princess Pulverizer, argued.
Lucas and the dragon both glared at her.
“Well, I just mean, we haven’t been all over the world,” Princess Pulverizer said quickly, “so we don’t actually know if Dribble makes the best grilled cheese.”
“We don’t actually know he doesn’t make the best grilled cheese in the world, either,” Lucas said.
“You have a point,” Princess Pulverizer agreed. Then she shouted, “Get your grilled cheese here! It might be the best grilled cheese in the world . . . maybe.”
Dribble called out to the people passing by, “Grilled mozzarella sandwiches for sale! Only one brass coin!”
That wasn’t very expensive. And yet, not one person in the Beeten Wheeten village market came anywhere near the dragon’s food stand. In fact, they all moved away as far as they could, and cowered nervously in the corners of the square.
“I don’t understand why people are afraid of dragons,” Dribble said sadly. “Most of us are very nice once you get to know us.”
“You are nice,” Lucas agreed. “People shouldn’t blame all dragons just because a few bad ones burn down villages.”
“Meanwhile, these sandwiches are getting cold,” Dribble complained.
“I’ll take care of that,” Princess Pulverizer said. She grabbed a sandwich from Dribble’s claws, smiled brightly at the people in the square, opened her mouth, and . . .
Promptly took a great, big bite!
“Hey!” Dribble exclaimed. “I thought you were going to sell that sandwich.”
“I never said that,” Princess Pulverizer replied. “I said I’d take care of it.” She took another big bite of the sandwich. Gooey mozzarella cheese oozed out all over her face. She used her sleeve to wipe it off, then took another bite. “Delicious!” she exclaimed as she chewed with her mouth open.
Lucas looked at her and shook his head. “What would your teacher at the Royal School of Ladylike Manners say?”
Princess Pulverizer knew exactly what Lady Frump would say. “ ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do with you!’ ” Princess Pulverizer replied, doing her best imitation of her teacher—complete with her hands in the air and her eyes rolling wildly.
Lucas burst out laughing.
Dribble didn’t. “I’m glad you two think this is so funny,” he said sadly. “How can I become a world-famous chef if no one will eat my sandwiches? I’m never going to make my dream come true.”
Huge purple dragon tears slid down Dribble’s face and onto the ground, leaving a small purple puddle by his feet.
“We have to do something for him,” Lucas whispered to Princess Pulverizer.
“Yes,” Princess Pulverizer agreed. “We have to cheer him up right away. It’s not good for him to be this sad.”
Lucas looked at her, amazed.
“What?” Princess Pulverizer demanded.
“It’s just that . . . well . . . I mean, I’ve never seen you care about how other people feel before,” Lucas explained. “You’re usually more concerned about how you feel.”
Princess Pulverizer put her hand to her heart. “Lucas! How can you say such a thing? I’m going to be a knight. And knights care very much about other people’s feelings.”
“I’m sorry,” Lucas apologized. “I didn’t mean to insult you.”
“That’s okay.” It wasn’t hard for Princess Pulverizer to forgive him. Especially because Lucas wasn’t completely wrong. The princess didn’t only care about Dribble’s feelings. She also cared about how Dribble’s sadness was going to affect her.
Princess Pulverizer needed Dribble’s help if she was ever going to be allowed to go to Knight School. And that was Princess Pulverizer’s greatest dream. She wanted it more than anything. Maybe even more than Dribble wanted to be a chef.
But just as Dribble was going to have to overcome obstacles if he was going to open his own restaurant, Princess Pulverizer was going to have to go through a lot to make her dream come true.
And it was all her father’s idea!
When Princess Pulverizer had asked King Alexander if she could go to Knight School, he’d flat out told her no. But she hadn’t given up. And eventually she was able to convince her father to let her go to Knight School. Which she had totally expected, seeing as Princess Pulverizer usually got her way.
Only the king wasn’t going to let her go right away.
Now that was not expected.
The king told Princess Pulverizer that she had to go on a Quest of Kindness and complete eight good deeds. It was the only way she was ever going to learn how not to be selfish, spoiled, and snobby.
Because knights are never selfish, spoiled, and snobby.
Princess Pulverizer had been on her Quest of Kindness for what seemed like a very long time now. And with the help of her new friends, Lucas and Dribble, she’d done a lot of good deeds.
Like overcoming an ogre.
Taking on a terrible troll.
And outfencing a fearful foe.
Along the way, the princess had learned a lot about being brave. And thinking of others. And being more patient.
She’d also learned to be part of a team. She could never have done those good deeds without the help of Dribble and Lucas.
Which was why she needed Dribble to stop crying. The princess had only completed five good deeds so far. She still had three more to go, and she couldn’t do them without the dragon’s help. But he was in no state to help her right then.
Princess Pulverizer wished she knew when Dribble might stop crying and they could continue their Quest of Kindness. Unfortunately, there was no way she could predict the future.
Or was there?
Quickly, Princess Pulverizer reached into her knapsack and pulled out a hand mirror. It had been a gift from Anna, the good witch of Starats.
The mirror was beautiful, magical, and—at the moment—extremely helpful.
Because this mirror could predict the future.
“I think you wiped off all the mozzarella grease,” Lucas said as he watched the princess peer into the mirror.
“I’m not looking for grease,” Princess Pulverizer said. “I’m looking to see if this magic mirror can predict exactly where Dribble will be when he stops crying.”
“What good will that do?” Lucas asked.
“Once we know where he will be when he becomes happy again, we can take him there and wait for him to start smiling,” the princess explained.
Dribble let out a loud sob. Three more tears fell to the ground. The purple puddles were getting deeper.
“Hurry,” Lucas urged the princess.
Princess Pulverizer looked into the magic mirror. The picture was cloudy—as if there was a film of dirt over its surface. Little by little, it began to clear.
“Here it comes,” Princess Pulverizer said happily. “Any minute now we will know . . . uh-oh.”
“What do you mean, uh-oh?” Lucas asked nervously.
“The mirror isn’t showing Dribble,” Princess Pulverizer said. “It’s showing you.”
“Me? In the future?” Lucas asked, surprised.
Princess Pulverizer turned the mirror around. “See?”
Lucas stared at his image in the magic mirror. In it, his mouth was wide open. His arms were spread out like wings. And behind him were clouds and treetops.
“That’s me all right,” Lucas agreed nervously. “And I’m flying!”
The very idea of his best buddy floating in midair was enough to stop Dribble from crying.
“Flying?” the dragon repeated. “How? Even I can’t fly. And I have wings.”
“Baby wings,” Princess Pulverizer reminded him. “When your grown-up wings grow in, you’ll fly just fine.”
“But I don’t have any wings at all,” Lucas said. “So how can I fly?”
“Who knows?” Princess Pulverizer said. “We’ll have to wait until you actually start flying to find out.”
“That’s not happening,” Lucas told his friends. “I’m leaving Beeten Wheeten. I can’t fly here if I’m not here.”
“That’s just silly,” Princess Pulverizer told him.
“You mean because it’s impossible for a person to fly?” Dribble asked her.
“No, because the mirror didn’t necessarily show Lucas flying in Beeten Wheeten. It didn’t show where or when Lucas was flying at all,” Princess Pulverizer said. “If we leave here, he might take flight in the very next town.”
“That’s not exactly reassuring,” Lucas said nervously.
“Come on,” Princess Pulverizer urged. “I know just the thing to take both your minds off your troubles.”
Lucas looked at Dribble. “I don’t think we’re going to like this,” he said.
“We need to look for someone with really big problems, who needs our help,” Princess Pulverizer continued. “Maybe there’s a monster in this town that needs defeating. Like a serpent-headed hydra. Or a giant man-eating spider. Or a—”
“I told you we weren’t going to like this,” Lucas whispered to Dribble.
“I doubt we will run into any creatures like those,” Dribble assured his pal. “Besides, there’s no point in staying here in the market,” he added sadly. “Why not walk around for a bit?”
* * *
As Princess Pulverizer and her pals wandered around Beeten Wheeten, the princess found herself getting quite discouraged. It didn’t seem like anyone had any troubles at all.
Which was very troubling to the princess. Now Dribble and Lucas weren’t the only ones who were unhappy. She needed some cheering up as well.
This time, it was Lucas who found just the thing. “Hey, look!” he exclaimed. “There’s a juggling show. Let’s go watch.”
Princess Pulverizer shrugged. They might as well sit and rest their feet. “Okay,” she said. “But just for a little while.”
The three friends took seats on a crowded bench. Well, the bench started out crowded, anyway. The minute the people sitting there spotted Dribble, they leaped up and ran off.
Dribble looked like he might start crying all over again.
“Never mind,” Lucas told him gently. “Now there’s more room for us.”
A woman walked onto the small, makeshift wooden stage and smiled at the audience—revealing that she was missing two teeth. “And now The Amazing Ralf will juggle fire!” she announced.
A man in a top hat wandered onto the stage. “Thank you, Bertha,” The Amazing Ralf said as he held up three wooden torches. “Light these, please.”
Bertha pulled pieces of flint and steel from her pocket and banged them together until a small spark appeared. Quickly, she used cloth as kindling to make a flame and lit the ends of the torches.
“Here we go!” The Amazing Ralf shouted excitedly as he began to juggle.
He tossed one torch in the air. And caught it.
He tossed the second torch in the air. And caught it.
He tossed the third torch in the air. And . . . THUD! The flaming piece of wood hit the ground with a shower of sparks. Within seconds the stage caught fire.
“Fire!” someone in the crowd yelled. “Run!”
“No need to leave,” The Amazing Ralf said calmly. “My lovely wife Bertha’s got it all under control.”
Princess Pulverizer watched as the juggler’s assistant poured a huge bucket of water over the flames.
“We always have water handy, just in case we need it,” The Amazing Ralf said.
“We pretty much always need it,” Bertha muttered as she grabbed a mop and started cleaning up the wet, sooty mess.
The crowd began to boo. Some folks threw wilted lettuce and rotting tomatoes at the stage.
“Great!” The Amazing Ralf cheered. “These will make a delicious stew.”
The audience booed louder. Someone threw a shoe.
The Amazing Ralf picked it up. “Just my size,” he said. “Now I have a pair. Although I think they are both for my right foot.”
“The Amazing Ralf isn’t very amazing,” Princess Pulverizer complained.
“And now for my greatest trick,” Ralf announced. “I will need some assistance from a member of the audience.” He wandered into the crowd, searching for just the right helper. He stopped when he reached the bench where Princess Pulverizer, Dribble, and Lucas were sitting.
“You will do just fine,” Ralf said, pointing directly at Lucas.
“M-m-me?” Lucas stammered. “No way.”
“Oh go on,” Princess Pulverizer urged. “What’s the worst that can happen?”
“Why don’t you go then?” Lucas asked.
“He’s not asking me,” Princess Pulverizer replied. “Besides, I thought you were trying hard not to be so lily-livered.”
That last argument was enough to convince Lucas to stand and follow the juggler up onto the stage. The crowd began to cheer.
Ralf grabbed Lucas by the waist and hoisted him in the air. “I will now juggle this young man!” he announced.
“You’re going to juggle who?” Lucas asked nervously.
“Juggle you,” Ralf told him. “And this bottle. And a red rubber ball. There’s nothing to worry about. I’ve tried this trick a million times.”
“Somehow that doesn’t make me feel any better,” Lucas replied.
“Here we go!” Ralf tossed the ball in the air and caught it.
Then he tossed the bottle in the air and caught it.
Then he tossed both, along with Lucas, in the air and . . . caught him in his arms.
The crowd cheered.
“See?” Ralf told Lucas. “No problem. This time I will toss you higher.”
“No!” Lucas cried out. “That was high enough.”
But Ralf wasn’t listening. He threw Lucas up in the air.
“AAAHHHH!” Lucas shouted. He spread his arms wide and looked exactly as he had in the magic mirror.
That’s when the princess remembered the warning Anna the good witch had given her: The future she saw in the mirror might not turn out to be exactly as she thought it would be.
Lucas wasn’t flying. He had just been juggled.
Clink. Clank. CLUNK.
And then he wasn’t in the air anymore.
Ralf missed catching Lucas as he plummeted back down to the ground. The small knight-in-training landed on his rear end.
The crowd laughed.
Lucas turned bright red. “Can we go NOW?” he demanded as he climbed off the stage and stormed over to where Princess Pulverizer and Dribble were sitting.
“Definitely,” Princess Pulverizer agreed. “Ralf is an awful juggler.”
“You stink,” one guy called out to Ralf, throwing a tomato at his head.
“It wasn’t my fault. I know how to juggle,” Ralf insisted. “It was that kid. He didn’t know how to be juggled.”
“It wasn’t Lucas’s fault!” Princess Pulverizer said, defending her friend.
“Don’t blame my little buddy,” Dribble added, leaping to his feet.
“AAAAHHHHH! Dragon!” someone shouted.
The audience members ran off in fear.
“You kids are a pain in my neck,” Ralf told Dribble, Lucas, and Princess Pulverizer as he hopped off the stage. He pointed to Lucas. “First you ruin my show. Then this dragon scares off the audience before I can pass the hat and get some coins.”
The princess rolled her eyes. The only thing Ralf would have gotten in that hat were a few rotted carrots the audience hadn’t had the chance to throw.
“Come on, you guys,” she said. “Let’s get away from this clown.”
“I’m not a clown! I’m a juggler!” Ralf insisted angrily.
“You could have fooled me,” Princess Pulverizer replied as she walked away.
“You three are going to be sorry,” Ralf warned. “Mark my words.”