Have you ever wanted to live inside of your favorite book? To just dive right in and be part of the action? For Alex, a super-smart girl who has no real friends at school, and who sees book characters as her only friends, this seems just about perfect. For her twin brother Conner, who doesn't enjoy school, this does not sound like a great plan.
In The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (Lexile: 720; Interest Level: Grades 3-6), the twins fall into their grandmother's book of stories. Literally, the fall in through the pages and land with a thump inside of a forest in the Land of Stories. The children have recently lost their father, and they worry about their mother while they are gone, but they can't help but get intrigued by the adventure they are on to explore the world of their beloved stories as they search for the pieces of the Wishing Spell to take them home.
In this wonderfully drawn out world, the children discover that Goldilocks has grown up to become an outlaw, the various princesses are all ruling kingdoms with their respective Prince Charmings (who all turn out to be brothers), and other characters all have different lives. The most surprising discoveries, however, are the sights that remind them of stories they thought their dad had invented, making them wonder just how well he knew the Land of Stories.
I found this to be a very engaging first book in a series, especially since I have a fondness for "after the story" stories of my favorite fairy tales. If you also wonder what happens after the stories end, you will enjoy this book, and I would guess, the entire series!
Appleblossom is a shy, gentle possum, who tries to follow all of the rules (staying away from humans, cars, and "hairies"), but one day her curiosity gets the better of her and she starts spying on a human girl, and even falls down her chimney!
In Appleblossom the Possum (Lexile: 720; Interest Level: Grades 3-6), Holly Sloan takes us on an adventure with this curious little possum and her brothers who try to save her from herself (and the human girl who just LOVES Appleblossom!). Although possums are taught to go off on their own, the power of family really comes through in this tender tale. The dual adventures of Appleblossom (in the house) and her brothers (in the city, looking for help) are very well-written and enjoyable.
I don't often care much for stories in which the main characters are talking animals, but I found Appleblossom to be an engaging actress in the stage of her own life. Readers who enjoy animal stories will undoubtedly be enthralled with the tale of Appleblossom the Possum. (288 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.