Reviews for Land of Stories : The Wishing Spell
Booklist Reviews 2012 May #2
It's been a hard year for twins Alex and Connor since their father passed. They miss his stories, especially the fairy tales he used to teach them about life, as well as soothe their fears. They know better now: life rarely has a happy ending. But then a magic book from their grandmother, a gift on their twelfth birthdays, sends the twins hurtling into the Land of Stories, where happy endings are usually expected. Their biggest concern is gathering the materials needed for the Wishing Spell, which will send them back home. So begins a scavenger hunt for some of the most recognizable symbols and characters in fantasy lore: Cinderella's glass slippers, a lock of hair from Rapunzel, tree bark from Little Red Riding Hood's basket, etc. Golden Globe-winner Colfer writes for an audience that will likely include plenty of teen readers (i.e., fans of Glee), and generally they will not be disappointed by the giddy earnestness of the writing, cut with a hint of melancholy. Dorman's evocative spot illustrations kick off each chapter. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Twins Alex and Conner find themselves transported to an alternate world where Snow White, Red Riding Hood, and other fairy-tale favorites live. But how will smart Alex and smart-aleck Conner find their way home? There's little that's new here and the plot is very predictable, but the pace is lively and the dialogue buoyant. A sequel seems indicated.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 June #2
Celebpub collides with fairy-tale redux in this unsuccessful debut. Alex is enraptured with fairy tales and soaks up her teacher's lessons on their universal truths. Twin brother Conner, on the other hand, falls asleep in class. On their 12th birthday their grandmother gifts them her treasured Land of Stories, a book their late father often shared with them. Predictably, they fall into the book and encounter all the fairy-tale characters, albeit some years after their happily-ever-afters. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Rapunzel are now queens, while Jack (of beanstalk fame), Goldilocks and Red Riding Hood are embroiled in a fierce love triangle. Alex and Conner must collect eight fairy-tale items in order to return to their world, all while being pursued by a snarling wolf pack in the employ of the Evil Queen, whose life Snow White has spared. Unfortunately, Colfer's prose, though sincere, drowns in bizarre imagery and trite phraseology. A Curvy Tree is saved from loggers because of its "uniqueness." Alex wants to be in this fairy-tale world because it is "where good things [come] to good people." Conner, upon learning that he is part fairy (grandmother = fairy godmother), "sarcastically" opines that "[t]he guys at school can never hear about this." Cardboard characters and awkwardly episodic situations result in a poorly manufactured tale. (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2012 November/December
A year after their father died, twins Alex and Conner still feel lost: their home life isn't what it used to be and each struggles in school. When their grandmother gives them a cherished family book, The Land of Stories, for their 12th birthday, the twins have no idea that it will transport them into the world of fairy tales and a dangerous adventure. Colfer's story has great potential and the allusions to, and extensions of, classic fairy tales are quite clever and interesting, but the writing hinders that potential. The dialogue is often unnatural and some of the phrasing is awkward with vocabulary that is too complex for the intended audience. Jianna Taylor, Teacher, Orchard Lake Middle School, West Bloomfield, Michigan. ADDITIONAL SELECTION Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 April #5
It's hard not to love a book dedicated to the Glee star's grandmother, who gave him this early advice: "Christopher, I think you should wait until you're done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer." In this entertaining if a bit overlong first novel, 12-year-old twins Alex (a girl) and Conner fall into their grandmother's cherished book of stories and arrive in fairy tale land. The only way to get home is a convoluted scavenger hunt that requires them to collect eight tokens from various fairy tales--Cinderella's glass slipper, a lock of Rapunzel's hair, etc. The ending is never in doubt, but it's a difficult journey as the twins meet the Big Bad Wolf Pack, are enslaved by trolls, and kidnapped by Snow White's evil stepmother. Colfer gets off many good lines--Conner's dialogue especially sounds like quips Kurt Hummel might make, as when the twins swim across an icy moat: "Wooo! It's so cold, I think we may be twin sisters now." The nifty ending ties the plot's multiple strands up while leaving room for further fairy tale adventures. Ages 8-up. Agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management. (July) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2012 September
Gr 4-6--When Alex and Conner's father unexpectedly dies, the twins lose the person who always had the perfect story to cheer them up. Then, on their 12th birthday, their grandmother gives them the book of fairy tales he used to read to them. Suddenly it seems to come to life, and the youngsters find themselves falling into the Land of Stories, seemingly with no way to get out. Desperate, they follow instructions in a mysterious journal: if they gather eight items from various residents in the kingdoms of the Land of Stories, they can complete the Wishing Spell and have one wish granted. After scaling castle walls, diving deep into the home of mermaids, and meeting characters from all of the beloved fairy tales, they are stymied by the Evil Queen, who has escaped from Snow White's dungeon. With the hope of using the spell gone, the twins appear to have no way home until they meet Fairy Godmother, their own grandmother. In a way, they find comfort from their grief over their father's death when they realize that they have been following his journal and that he grew up in this land. The writing quality in this adventure is inconsistent and detracts from the fast-paced story. The deep sadness of the twins comes through, but they are somewhat one-dimensional, since Alex is so much the nerd and Conner, the class clown. The plotline, however, pulls readers in and is entertaining, and Colfer's passion for fairy tales shines through. Turn to Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark & Grimm (Dutton, 2010) for higher-quality writing in a recent fractured fairy-tale novel.--Clare A. Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, MA [Page 140]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.