The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell – buy it
By Chris Colfer – website
Recommended Ages: 9+
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Bookish Alex Bailey and her twin brother Conner are navigating sixth grade in very different ways. Struggling with a ‘family situation’, Alex sits at the front of the class and hangs on the stories and words of her teacher Mrs. Peters, whilst Conner is just trying to rest his eyes! The one thing they have in common is their mutual love for the fairy tales read to them from their Grandma’s old book, The Land of Stories. When Grandma tries to cheer the twins up on their twelfth birthday by gifting them the book, it’s not long before Conner starts noticing strange changes in his twin’s behavior. What secrets does The Land of Stories hide, and why exactly is it glowing?
In his first novel, Chris Colfer of Glee shares his childhood escape with young readers, and we fall headfirst into the land of fairy tales. The twins meet familiar characters, but they have been living their lives since the stories we know and love have ended. Great for fans of Disney with a twist. Whether it be encountering renegade Goldilocks, ditsy Red Riding Hood, or the helpful Froggy, this wry look at the lives after the happily ever after is a fun adventure filled ride. But keep an eye out for The Big Bad Wolf Pack, and the escaped evil Queen Evly. And how exactly can they get home?
As a fan of Colfer’s, I was interested to see how this book would read. For a first novel the characters are bright and memorable, the humour tongue in cheek. Whilst I think pacing of the plot could at times use a trim, and at times it can be a little repetitive, it is still enjoyable, and worth reading to the end. As an older reader it was interesting to see the element of commentary on fame and coming out that are contained within the narrative (easily overlooked and non-explicit though they are!) I can’t wait to read the sequel coming this winter.
One to read to younger siblings and cousins, or just indulge in a little escapism and nostalgia. The audio book is voiced by Chris, so fans should definitely check it out!