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The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
by Chris Colfer
PUBL. RECOMMENDED AGE: 8-12
LEXILE READING LEVEL: 720L {what is this?}
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2012
NO. PAGES: 448
GENRE{S}: Fantasy, Adventure
MAIN CHARACTER GENDER: Mixed
ISBN: 031620157X
READ & REVIEWED BY: Jen - StorySnoop


The Story
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell—Book Review

Alex and Conner Bailey haven't had a lot to celebrate in the year since their father died. But when their grandmother surprises them with a visit on their twelfth birthday, they finally feel a bit festive. Their favorite gift is a family heirloom--a book of fairy tales called The Land of Stories. The twins have fond memories of their father and grandmother reading to them from that beloved book. Little did they know that the book is also a portal into the fairy tale world. When they enter the portal by mistake, the twins are stunned to learn that the fairy tale world is a real place, and that the stories of all their favorite characters have continued. But Alex and Conner can't get home the same way they came, so they must embark upon a quest to find eight items that will activate the Wishing Spell--their only ticket home. Their journey is not an easy one. They almost get eaten by a witch, narrowly miss being attacked by the Big Bad Wolf Pack, and must escape a burning castle and enslavement by trolls and goblins. Worst of all, they must outsmart the Evil Queen, who has her sights set on the Wishing Spell items, too. Will Alex and Conner ever find their way home?
The Scoop
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

Written by the actor who plays Kurt Hummel on Glee, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell will be thoroughly enjoyed by middle graders who are fairy tale fans. Readers will recognize many of their favorite fairy tale characters: Goldilocks, Cinderella, Snow White, Red Riding Hood, the Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Jack of beanstalk fame. The author cleverly weaves these well-known stories together in unexpected ways and even provides some plausible backstories. Main characters Alex and Conner inject contemporary culture into the fairy tale world, which adds a comedic element. Conner is a likable and imperfect character whose blunt and sarcastic voice will make him particularly relatable to tween readers. He provides a nice balance to his perfectly-behaved bookworm sister, and the two have a loving and supportive relationship. They have had to rely on one another over the past year in particular since their father's death, because their mother works around the clock to make ends meet. Their grief is referenced but in an age-appropriate way. With only a bit of mild fantasy violence and a few loving embraces between paramours, this wholesome fantasy adventure would make an excellent read-aloud at home or in the classroom.
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