Conner & Alex are adjusting to a new normal.  Their father has recently passed away.  While their mother is working harder than ever to maintain a modest lifestyle, the twins’ grandmother comes to town to help out.  She presents them with an enchanted family heirloom that will change their life forever and untangle a web of unanswered questions about their father’s past.

The children are given the book of stories once read to them by their father.  It doesn’t take long for Conner & Alex to physically enter the Land of Stories and be transported into a land of familiar fairy tale creatures and characters.  This land is full of all things fairy tale:  witches, goblins, spells, good and evil.  Soon after they enter the Land of Stories, the children determine they must find a way back home.   Alex and Conner learn about the Wishing Spell, which will grant a wish if a series of difficult objects are acquired from the many lands within the Land of Stories.  Unbeknownst to them, the Evil Queen is also trying to get the objects for the Wishing Spell.  The children eventually come face to face with the Evil Queen.  She shares with them the true meaning behind her magic mirror and the children actually empathize with her and her story of heartbreak.  Along the way, infamous fairy tale characters are introduced, including:   Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Snow White, the Huntsman & a fairy godmother (to name a few).

The author, Chris Colfer, provides several opportunities for foreshadowing.  Pieces of the puzzle begin fitting together and the children acknowledge the parallels between their adventures and the life of their father.  

This book series is likely a good match for older school-age children who enjoy the enchanting world of familiar fairy tales.  The writing style is simple and easy to follow.  The plot is not too complex.  There is a small tinge of violence towards the very end of the book that might be alarming to sensitive readers.

Recommended by Jennifer Carter

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