The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell (paperback)
by Chris Colfer
AR Level 5.0, 15 points
Have you ever read a book that you WISHED you liked? That’s The Land of Stories. With rave reviews from my students, the fact that I couldn’t keep it on my shelf to the point of ordering extra copies, and it being written by a Glee star, I thought, this has to be awesome. I’m going to love it. Oh my gosh. I wish that were true.
This is the story of a set of lonely twins, Alex and Conner (Alex is a girl). Their father died tragically, and their mother is financially challenged. School isn’t going great for them, and then they come across a magic book that transports them into a magical land where fairy tales and characters become real. They meet nearly every character from a fairy tale you can imagine and go on an adventure that has all the drama, mystery, adventure, and even romance you could want from a fairy tale. It ends with a few “shockers” (unless you’re a half way-decent hypothesizer, in which case, it’s just exactly what you expected to happen).
What I like about this book is the fact that it is so engaging for my students. I was so excited to hear them fighting over the books, and I even had to buy a new, hardcover copy of the newest book, because I had a student who was so excited to read it, she couldn’t wait. If it gets readers to read more, exposes them to fairy tales they might or might not know much about, or engages them in mystery, I’ll stock it. Just don’t make me read the rest of this series.
What I didn’t like about this book was the fact that it was so predictable. Seriously, as soon as they found themselves in the fairy tale world, I knew what was going to happen at the end, and I was totally right. I also didn’t like that it wasn’t very realistic. I’m not talking fairy tales, because duh- they’re fairy tales. No such thing as fairies or talking wolves or magic mirrors. I mean, I spend my day with fifth and sixth graders, and their dialogue was not that of sixth graders. The things they said, the emotions they felt, etc. were not relatable. I hope I’m the only one who feels this way, though! I will continue to encourage my students to read this series, because it really is engaging for someone their age, but it was not the book for me.
Book 34 of 40 (year 2)