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The Wishing Spell

by Chris Colfer & illustrated by Brandon Dorman

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: July 17th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-316-20157-5
Publisher: Little, Brown

Celebpub collides with fairy-tale redux in this unsuccessful debut.

Alex is enraptured with fairy tales and soaks up her teacher’s lessons on their universal truths. Twin brother Conner, on the other hand, falls asleep in class. On their 12th birthday their grandmother gifts them her treasured Land of Stories, a book their late father often shared with them. Predictably, they fall into the book and encounter all the fairy-tale characters, albeit some years after their happily-ever-afters. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Rapunzel are now queens, while Jack (of beanstalk fame), Goldilocks and Red Riding Hood are embroiled in a fierce love triangle. Alex and Conner must collect eight fairy-tale items in order to return to their world, all while being pursued by a snarling wolf pack in the employ of the Evil Queen, whose life Snow White has spared. Unfortunately, Colfer’s prose, though sincere, drowns in bizarre imagery and trite phraseology. A Curvy Tree is saved from loggers because of its “uniqueness.” Alex wants to be in this fairy-tale world because it is “where good things [come] to good people.” Conner, upon learning that he is part fairy (grandmother = fairy godmother), "sarcastically" opines that “[t]he guys at school can never hear about this.”

Cardboard characters and awkwardly episodic situations result in a poorly manufactured tale. (Fantasy. 8-12)