Irene is still a very young princess, but she must grow up quickly when she and her mountain home are threatened by the goblins who dwell below it.
Princess Irene is eight years old, and lives side by side with the Goblins. The Goblins once lived above ground, but retreated underground when they were subjected to severe laws and taxes. On the top floor of Princess Irene's house is her Great-Great-Grandmother who only Princess Irene can see. Princess Irene's secret Grandmother is magical. She keeps a lighted moon in her window, eats eggs from the pigeons, and spins spider webs into magical thread balls. Soon, the Goblins are being forced from their homes by the miners who sing rhymed verses to push the Goblins further into the hills and away from the mines. So, the Goblins devise a plan to capture Princess Irene. However, Princess Irene is given one of the magical threads and it leads her away from the Goblins when they attack her father's palace. Young readers will be enchanted with this little known fairy tale and find themselves caught up with Princess Irene as she tries to convince the adults around her of her Great-Great-Grandmother's existence. Readers will want to be sure and read the second book in the sequence which continues the story of Princess Irene and her friend, Curdie. 2004 (orig. 1874), HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 12.