The Land of Stories (Book #1): The Wishing Spell

by Chris Colfer

Hardcover, 2012



Local notes

Fic Col




Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2012), Edition: 1, 438 pages. $19.00. (Jan 2018).


"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"--


Buckeye Children's & Teen Book Award (Nominee — Grades 6-8 — 2019)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2016)
Blue Hen Book Award (Nominee — Middle Readers — 2016)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

448 p.; 6.38 inches

Media reviews

"A villain is just a victim who's story is never told" - Evil Queen I love a good fairytale-retelling but this series is a bit different. It is a mixture of the fairytales we know, the original dark tales they originate from, and imaginative new twists. There are strong moral themes throughout
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and broches difficult topics like grieving the loss of a parent, in a way young readers can understand. The twins also learn the importance of compassion and understanding and that not all villains start out evil, that they're sometimes born of circumstance. The kids remind me of Jack and Annie from Magic Treehouse. Jack and Annie portal through time to historical events and Conner and Alex fall through a book into the fairytale world. Not only is the world building great but the character development is creative and fun as well. Conner's snarky humor is pure gold and had me audibly laughing several times. The only thing I didn't care for was the occasional cuss word throughout. I just don't see why a kids book needs them no matter what the subject but that is just my opinion. Otherwise, it's great for young readers and adults will enjoy it as well. Happy reading! đź“š
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User reviews

LibraryThing member KittyCunningham
Reads like it hopes to be made into a screenplay aimed at 12 year old girls.
LibraryThing member beccaowen
In this book, young Alex and Connor are transported to a magical land where all the fairytales they've ever read have come to life before their eyes, with several unexpected twists. They embark on a quest to get all the items required to cast the "Wishing Spell" and return back to their own world.
LibraryThing member mountie9
The Good Stuff
•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
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creative twist on the various fairy tale stories
•Some very wise observations on life
•Delightfully funny
•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

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"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

4.25 Dewey's

I recieved a copy at BEA and my copy is signed by Chris Colfer (Thanks to Teri and Cammy for getting me a spot)
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LibraryThing member bookappeal
Colfer strikes a good balance between staying true to fairy tale legends and adding his own comical or touching twists to their Happily Ever After lives. Twins Alex and Conner fall into The Land of Stories while they are still mourning the unexpected death of their father, a man who frequently
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comforted them with fable-like stories of his own. They rely on each other as they navigate the various kingdoms, meeting the heroes, princesses, and villains of the stories they know so well, marveling at what has happened since the end of their stories, and trying to collect the specific items that will (hopefully) allow them to make The Wishing Spell and go back home to their mom. Adventurous and fun.
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LibraryThing member lucky11
Wouldn't it be cool if you could just step right into the book you were reading. Well, that's exactly what happens to twins Alex and Conner in "The Land of Stories:The Wishing Spell." Alex and Conner's family had been having a rough time, and a visit from their grandmother was just the thing they
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needed to cheer them up a bit. From there things got a little crazy, and next thing they knew they landed inside their families special book, "The Land of Stories". In a strange to place, Alex and Conner are now on the adventure of a life time to find a way home, and along they way the find things out about their family that they never knew.

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.
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LibraryThing member Margaly
This book was SO GOOD.

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
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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!
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LibraryThing member Roseybead1
So awesome! Goldilocks is a wanted fugitive: Red Riding Hood has her own kingdom, and Queen Cinderella is pregnant!!! Funny and Interesting!
LibraryThing member Rigfield
Just what the world needs - a completely original take on the fairy tales we all grew up with. The writing is smart and engaging. The characters believable. And the journey is rewarding. Along the way our heros (and readers) learn valuable life lessons (without even realizing it!) An enjoyable read
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for middle schoolers or even adults! Well done. A must have for libraries and avid readers of clean adventure tales.
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LibraryThing member pacey1927
I have to admit that I am a big Glee fan (Klaine forever!) and I also absolutely adore fairy tale retellings. I am always leary of books written by singers and actors but I found myself immediately sucked into the Land of Stories and I forgot completely about who the author was. I'd say this book
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is perfect for 9-12 year olds or those in about that reading range. The Land of Spells is a fantastic imaginary world and I loved every time the young brother and sister stumbled upon a famous fairy tale character. Especially delightful was the reimagined Little Red Riding Hood and the mother to be Cinderella. Colfer took the characters you thought you knew by now and twisted them around just a little bit. There is an actual plot to this tale as the siblings who fell into this world want only to get back home again where their widowed mother must be worried sick to death about their disappearance. The kids decide to embark on a scavenger hunt to find items for the Wishing Spell, a spell so powerful it can grant ANY wish. The story was somewhat predictible but I admit to being thrown a curveball or two I didn't see coming. The one negative is that I really feel like these two siblings could have been written with more character and personality but in traditional fairy tales, how often has that ever happened? This book comes highly recommended although older readers may not find it nearly as magically entertaining as their younger counterparts. I am interested to see what Colfer will bring next to the table.
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LibraryThing member xFredx
This was a gift for my 6 year-old daughter. We read books together at bedtime. She had been reading it on her own, but had declared that it was "boring". After reading the first two chapters aloud, I have to agree.

This book is 438 pages long, and about half of the words are excess adjectives. The
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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.
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LibraryThing member lexiechan
Whoa. Didn't know Chris Colfer is a writer. :) I love Kurt in Glee so definitely reading this one sometime soon.
LibraryThing member jwarbler
I cannot possibly say enough good things about this book. While I originally picked this up because I'm a devoted Gleek, Colfer's writing is genuinely good - funny, lively, and engaging. Alex and Conner are wonderful protagonists, and I love seeing Colfer's own little changes to the fairy tale
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canon as we know it. There's a reason this became an NYT best-seller, and it's not the power of the Gleeks. It's all because of Colfer's own work.
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LibraryThing member Breton07
Chris Colfer has written the reader into the magical world of fairytales and legends we love! He truly lets us experience much more than a moral tale. He has a gift for helping the reader discover himself/ her-self.

I was most impressed by the author's insight into the characters. Each of the
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characters was introduced to me again with a keen observation and understanding. The book is filled with adventure and intrigue!

-Breton Kaiser-Shinn
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LibraryThing member ccathee17c
Title : The Wishing Spell
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
Source :
*Thanks to HBG Canada for the review copy in exchange of an honest review*

My Opinion :

I have been a huge Gleek (or
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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.

Seriously adorable!

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!
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LibraryThing member Draak
Twins Alex and Conner fall through a Fairy Tale Book their Grandmother gave them and starts them on a quest to get home. Along the way they meet their favorite Fairy Tale characters and some not so favorite (the big bad wolf pack for one). I found this book to be refreshing and delightful. I loved
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the different take on the characters like Red Riding Hood being self centered, Goldilocks on the run from the law. I had a hard time putting the book down and truthfully read it in a day. If you want to read a book that is a change of pace from what you normally read give this book a try.
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LibraryThing member asomers
I was skeptical at first, but I have to admit that I enjoyed this book and got caught up in the story.
LibraryThing member BookLoversLife
2.5 stars for me!! I found the book to be kind of childish (I know its a kids book but still) The story was such a good idea, I mean, come on, falling into storyland sounds awesome but The Wishing Spell fell kind of flat. I found myself rolling my eyes at alot of the parts and thinking Ugh cant
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something exciting happen!! Even if something exciting did happen to the kids it just felt restrained and everything went the twins way too easy.
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LibraryThing member philae_02
Colfer created a truly remarkable world with his debut novel, Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell! Twins, Alex and Connor find themselves transported to the 7 kingdoms, and the only way home again is to collect items for the Wishing Spell. But the Evil Queen is hot on their trail, seeking the spell
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for herself.

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!
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LibraryThing member JSIS-Reviews
Alex and Connor's life has changed drastically. Their father died just recently, and they had to move to a different house. But when the twin's (Alex and Connor) grandmother gives them an old book of fairytales, the two go on an adventure they never imagined. I really enjoyed the Land of
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Stories-The Wishing Spell because Chris Colfer gave a fantastic twist to the fairytales.
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LibraryThing member PracticallyPerfect
The Land of Stories is a book that takes all of your classic fairy tales and adds a new spin. The book is written for children new to the world of fairy tales as well as for adults that love the classics. The book is perfect to keep you on your toes and enjoy the stories you grew up with.The Land
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of Stories: The Wishing Spell follows Alex and her brother Connor down a rabbit hole, or, in this case, a fairy tale book. When the twins get their bearings they’re being helped by a frog man, herded into caves and eventually sent on an adventure to send themselves back home where their recently widowed mother awaits.

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.
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LibraryThing member ladypembroke
Not bad for a first novel. Definitely written for a younger audience than I expected. Also, I blame ABC, but I can't help but picture Regina from Once Upon a Time as the Evil Queen.
LibraryThing member SheilaCornelisse
Twins, Alex and Conner Bailey, are magically swept into a land of fairy tale characters when their grandmother gives them a treasured fairy-tale book. This is an exciting, action-packed tale that gives a whole new perspective to the lives of such characters as Cinderella, Snow White, Red Riding
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Hood, and Sleeping Beauty, to name a few. A fun, highly recommended read.
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LibraryThing member capiam1234
Kids got bored after a halfway through the book.
LibraryThing member iShanella
When I first heard that the guy from Glee was writing a children’s book, it was easy to roll my eyes and think, “Oh great, another T.V. celebrity using their fame to sell books”. However, Chris Colfer played Kurt on Glee, and he sorta won my heart when he sang Defying Gravity[1], so I thought
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I’d give his book a whirl. When he spoke at the BEA Children’s Authors Breakfast[2] he explained a bit more about his book and it sounded interesting, so I thought, perhaps there will be more to it than just another celebrity book; I was not disappointed.

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[3] and am definitely looking forward to seeing what Chris Colfer’s imagination serves up next.

[received an ARC at BEA]

[1] Quite possibly my favourite Broadway song.
[2] Book Expo America, I didn’t make the breakfast, but I did see it online. Great job on that BEA folks!
[3] Yes, I enjoyed it, even though I’m not a very young child - though some might beg to differ.
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LibraryThing member skaohee
The Wishing Spell follows Alex and Conner Bailey, a set of twins, as they navigate their way through the fantasy land within their family’s storybook. This magical world encompasses all of the well-known fairytales, and each has their own “kingdom”. Stuck in this alternate world, the twins
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must go through each of these kingdoms on a scavenger hunt of sorts to collect items they need to get back home.

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.
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