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32 pages
Sep 2006
Revell Books

Princess Madison and the Whispering Woods

by Karen Scalf Linamen

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


This is the text taken from Princess Madison and the Whispering Woods:

Madison’s father was going on a business trip.

Madison helped him polish his crown. She helped him pack his socks. She even carried one of his bags all the way to the limo.

When she hugged him good-bye, Madison asked him a question. It was the same question she asked him every night at bedtime. She said, “Daddy, how much do you love me?”

Her father laughed and gave her the same answer he had given her the night before and all the nights before that.

He said, “My love for you is bigger than all the mountains in all the countries in all the world. It’s greater than all the grains of sand at the bottom of all the oceans over all the earth. And it’s brighter than the sun, the moon, and all the stars in the sky.”


As the limo drove away, Madison smelled something wonderful—chocolate chip cookies. In the kitchen, she saw Cook pouring something

into a spoon and then into a mixing bowl.

“What are you doing?” Madison asked.

“Measuring salt,” said Cook.

“Why did you pour it in the spoon first?” Madison asked.

“Because a pinch of prevention is better than a cup of cure,” said Cook.

“I thought you said it was salt.”

Cook laughed. “Prevention means being careful. Cure means fixing things when you’re not careful.”

Madison thought about that. “So . . . a bit of careful is better than a lot of fixing?”

“Yup,” said Cook.

Madison said, “I’m going outside to play.”

“Stay out of the forest and be home before dark!” Cook warned.

“Don’t worry,” Madison said. “I’ll be home soon for cookies.”


Madison headed for the archery range. This is where all the king’s horses and all the king’s men practiced shooting arrows at targets just in case they ever landed a guest spot on the David Letterman show. Madison wanted to shoot an arrow too.


Bill, the archery master, said, “No way. Not today. When you’re older I’ll teach you how to use a bow and arrow. Until then you’d better play somewhere else.”


When no one was looking, Madison grabbed an arrow. She fit it into the bow and pulled hard.

The arrow didn’t fly toward the heart of the target like Madison had imagined. Instead, it flew straight into the forest.

This was not a good thing.

Just inside the forest grew a patch of thorny brambles. Inside the brambles was an anthill. Sticking out of the anthill was the arrow.

“Ouch!” Madison said as she wriggled past the thorns. When she pulled the arrow from the anthill, she saw the tip was broken.

This was really not a good thing.

Madison sat down. Her arms and legs stung from the thorns. Her heart felt heavy. Watching the ants, she told them, “I wasn’t supposed to shoot an arrow, and now it’s broken. My father told me his love for me was as big as a mountain. I bet when he sees what I’ve done, his love for me will be the size of your little anthill instead.”

The ants were silent, so Madison watched two butterflies. When they flew deeper into the forest, Madison jumped to her feet.

She said, “Those cookies have probably all been eaten by now anyway. I’ll see where those butterflies live, and then I’ll go home.”

The ants waved at Madison. She thought they were saying, “Good-bye and good luck,” but it’s possible they were saying, “Wait! Stop! Don’t go into those woods!” Yes, quite possible indeed.


Madison followed the butterflies past a chattering brook. Past a meadow. Past the secret den of a hungry fox who watched Madison with piercing yellow eyes.

Her stomach growled. She thought of the cookies, and her stomach growled more. She wanted to go home, except she wasn’t sure how to get there anymore.

She passed a mossy boulder. She traveled through a patch of ferns with fragile fingers that brushed her legs. She crossed the shadowy entrance of a musty cave and thought of bears and dragons and cookies.

Searching her pockets, she found only a few crumbs from a Rice Krispies Treat.

This was really, really not a good thing.