"Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, twins Alex and Conner leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about"--
Original publication date
No doubt about it, this is a middle grade book. And while I liked it, it was definitely in need of some better editing. Some of the sentences were choppy and often “told” too much of the story, rather than showing the readers and letting them interpret things for themselves. Despite that, the actual story, itself, was very captivating and I found myself unable to put it down. It had unexpected takes on some of the characters and I liked how well the kingdoms and various fairytales were weaved together.
Each chapter begins with an illustration and Brandon Dorman’s talent is evident. I know there is color map that will be included in the final version of this book, but I wish it could have been in the ARC for reviewers to see. I had a chance to see it when Chris spoke at the Children’s Author Breakfast at BEA and it’s a great visual aid.
Yes, I will admit that I was initially interested in this book because I watch Glee, but after hearing Chris talk about how this book has been years in the making (with his grandmother being his first editor, when he was a kid), I truly wanted to read it. It was a really fun adventure of a book and I hope to read more about the Bailey twins and whatever the future holds for them.
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is a great book to read aloud to kids - or, to read yourself. All the fairytale characters that we cherish as children, come alive on the pages. Twins, Alex and Conner, find themselves in a land where the characters from the stories they heard growing up turn out to be real. Sleeping Beauty really did fall asleep and now, awoken, is having problems keeping her kingdom awake long enough to function. Cinderella had a lot of friction with the people in her kingdom, especially the richer folks, who were angry that Prince Charming did not choose one of their daughters, and the Big Bad Wolf pack runs around the woods terrorizing people.
To find their way home, Alex and Conner must collect some magical items to make a Wishing Spell. The quest takes them all across the land - in a race against an unknown stranger who seem to be collecting items for the spell as well - and they need to be the first to find it, or they wouldn’t be able to find their way home.
There are many fun references to fairytale characters and their lives off the pages. This story is imaginative and I think parents and children will have a good time reading it together and perhaps even making up their own “off the page” stories. It’s a long story, however, I believe it will captivate children, especially those with wild imaginations, for a very long time. The Land of Stories is fast paced with tons of action to keep children engaged in reading.
I do want to stress that this book is suitable for young children. While middle graders will enjoy it, I think that it might be best suited for even younger children. Regardless of its length, younger kids would be able to appreciate the land and the stories, especially if they’ve recently read the fairytales, while older kids (and adults) might find it a bit on the simple side.
I enjoyed reading this story and am definitely looking forward to seeing what Chris Colfer’s imagination serves up next.
[received an ARC at BEA]
 Quite possibly my favourite Broadway song.
 Book Expo America, I didn’t make the breakfast, but I did see it online. Great job on that BEA folks!
 Yes, I enjoyed it, even though I’m not a very young child - though some might beg to differ.
•I was extremely surprised by how well written it is, won't lie wasn't expecting much, but it really is well done. This youg man is a talented storyteller - no fair though - I mean seriously - the guy can sing, act and write - ah well congrats Mr Colfer very well done
•Lovely creative twist on the various fairy tale stories
•Some very wise observations on life
•Fast moving and exciting
•Just so much fun to read, think this will be wonderful for the young bookworm out there -- I would have adored this as a kid
•Will be definitely recommending this one. Have already passed on my second copy to the little girl 3 doors down
•The siblings are very likeable and act like siblings would - some of the dialogue between the two is just plain delightful
•The illustrations in the arc are nice and my copy is signed, but I still think I will buy a copy of the finished product for my boys (had two ARC's from BEA)
The Not So Good Stuff
•drags a wee bit at times
•pretty predictable if you are an older reader -- but for the suggested age range it is perfect
"I've never met a person I didn't learn something from!" Grandma said. "Even the most monotonous people will surprise you. Remember that."
"What was I supposed to tell Mom when she got home? Hi Mom, hope you had a good day at work. Alex fell through a book. By the way, what's for diner? Give me a break!"
"It's Rapunzel's tower!" Alex said., and her eyes became a little misty at the sight of it.
"Are you seriously crying?" said Conner, who was still on the ground.
“The world will always choose convenience over reality. It's easier to hate, blame, and fear than it is to understand. No one wants the truth; they want entertainment.”
Who Should/Shouldn't Read
•This is the perfect book for the 8-10 yr old bookworm - it will be one of their favorites
•Adult will get a kick out of it as well
•Fans of Glee should enjoy as well
I recieved a copy at BEA and my copy is signed by Chris Colfer (Thanks to Teri and Cammy for getting me a spot)
A quick past, full of adventure story, with a twist to all your favorite fairy tales, "The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell" by Chris Colfer, was a great read.
I was a bit skeptical of it at first, the fact that it is a middle-grade book and all, but it was such a good book. From the beginning, I was captivated by the mystical land that is The Land of Stories. I fell in love with the world.
I did have a few issues with it, while reading. I can't handle the naivety of 12 year olds. They would say something extremely childish or just start crying, and my eyes would immediately start to roll. I love the book, I honestly do, but I just was having a hard time dealing with the characters sometimes.
The development of all of the characters, though, was AMAZING. I LOVE Goldilocks, Snow White, and all of the other characters. Chris Colfer created a world that I want to visit, something that hasn't happened to me since Harry Potter.
I will definitely have to read the book again, and soon. It's such a light and entertaining read. Great job, Chris Colfer!
This book is 438 pages long, and about half of the words are excess adjectives. The writing is full of overused cliches and mangled sentences. Here's a sample sentence, from page 8: "Her stepmother had always been such a private person, Snow White never had reason to." Another, from page 54: "She opened her trunk, and the twins began unloading bags and bags filled with food into the house." Clearly the editor did little more than run spellcheck on this book before sending it to the printer.
Summary: Garbage that was even rejected by a 6 year-old.
I was most impressed by the author's insight into the characters. Each of the characters was introduced to me again with a keen observation and understanding. The book is filled with adventure and intrigue!
Series : The Land of Stories #1
Author : Chris Colfer
Pages : 448
Release Date : July 17th 2012
Publisher : Little, Brown for YR / HBG Canada
Format : ARC
*Thanks to HBG Canada for the review copy in exchange of an honest review*
My Opinion :
I have been a huge Gleek (or Glee fan) since the beginning, and I would be lying if I said that Kurt Hummel (played by Chris Colfer, the author of THE WISHING SPELL, his wonderful debut novel) wasn't my favorte character. I love him as an actor, and I was really happy to find out that I like him as an author too!
I'm not one for Middle Grade novels. I do really enjoy Rick Riordan's novels, but otherwise, I don't read Middle Grade. But, as you can see, I dug into The Wishing Spell pretty quickly and enjoyed it a lot!
The Wishing Spell follows twins Alex and Conner Bailey's story as they discover The Land of Stories' magical world where fairy tale characters actually exist. But, they have to find a way back home, and so they start on a quest to get the seven items needed for the Wishing Spell, a spell that can give you any wish you want. But, the Evil Queen, Snow White's stepmother, wants the Wishing Spell too. And the problem is; the Wishing Spell can only be used two times... and there is only one left.
Near the end, I was sweating, turning the pages as fast as I could so that I could see how it ended.
After a while, though, the quest to finding all the objects got kind of long, but then the best part of the book came by ;D
Although I do like series, I'm seriously wondering where Colfer will takes us next.
If you get the book, look closely at the cover; it's just so beautiful, and represents the book perfectly!
One thing I hated was how the author portrayed the twins; they are 12. I'm 13, so let's say we're the same. And I am not at all like that. They seemed like they were 9 or 10 or something!
Children will be introduced to all the characters they know and love, while relating to two protagonists that are very real. The two twins, Alex and Conner, have recently lost not only their father, but genuine happiness. Forced to move into a much smaller rental house, they worry constantly about their mother who must now work double shifts almost every day. Their birthday is coming up, and their grandmother stops by with their favorite childhood book, the "Land of Stories". Alex, who is an excellent student and therefore picked on at school is the first to fall into the book. Conner, her smart-mouthed (but incredibly loyal and at times insecure) brother follows her in afterwards- and their adventure begins.
I think many children will find the book exciting, scary, and funny. It flows well and will keep little readers on their toes. Additionally, Chris Colfer does an excellent job keeping the numerous characters in place- giving them enough personality that readers will connect with them, but not so much that he rehashes each and every fairy tale.
Such a pleasant twist on the classic fairy tales! I can think of no better recommendation for my elementary students! It would also be fantastic as a read-aloud for 3rd-5th graders!
The two must face the evil queen, steal from red Riding Hood, befriend Cinderella and sneak into Snow White’s palace all while avoiding the lands knights, the treacherous wolfpack and the mute huntress. In this twisted world, your favorites are dismissed and given a new title. No more little miss Goldilocks, no more Jack and the beanstalk, no more towers. It’s a battle against time and forces to collect all the items that Alex and Connor need to get their wish. The secrets are out and the lies have been branded, all that’s left is pure, mortal abilities. Strength, bravery, intelligence and heart. But will it be enough to save Alex and Connor and send them back home? Will they want to go back home?
Chris Colfer’s created the ultimate fairy tale quilt, stuffed with all your favorites and patched together. If you grew up wanting to be a princess with your own godmother or envying the knights of the round table I would highly recommend you check this book out at the library and continue the joys of childhood memories that it takes you on.