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!
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.