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Age Appropriateness: 3rd - 5th Grade
Plot: The Wishing Spell details the accounts of Alex and Conner, a pair of boy/girl 11 year old twins. Alex is the teacher's pet while Conner could care less about what is going on in the classroom. Part of this divide come from the twins dealing with the death of their father. As they struggle with their new life we learn about how their dad was the story teller of the family and could always make them feel better by telling stories he loved from their Grandmother's book, The Land of Stories.
On the twin's 12th birthday their grandmother gives them the beloved book. But all is not what it seems. Alex and Conner soon find themselves inside the story without a way out. Following the advice of Froggy the twins start on a journey to gather ingredients for a spell that will grant them 1 wish. The twins plan to use the wish to get home. Gathering the items is not easy and the twins find themselves overcoming many obstacles.
The story moves quickly through the fairy tale kingdom and you soon find yourself at the end of the story where Alex and Conner discover a surprise.
Classroom Use: The Wishing Spell is fantastic for a read aloud or as a introductory to bigger chapter books. At 464 pages (paperback edition) this book may look daunting for some students but it's an easy read. Students will be familiar enough with the characters in the story that they can follow it without getting lost.
Teacher Comments: The Wishing Spell is a good read but it does have some issues. The overuse of similes gets old after a while and some of the word choice makes me think a thesaurus was in use without really thinking about the flow of the story. I found the Goblins a bit tedious but even considering this, your students will enjoy this book.
While I found the ending predictable the majority of my students did not. They were surprised about the book's owner and were anxious to begin the next book.
While my students didn't comment on it, I did find it annoying the Alex and Connor were both boy names. This could make it confusing for your students to keep track of who's who.
Series or Stand Alone: Series
Book 1: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
Book 2: The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns
Book 3: The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning
Book 4: Coming July 2015
AR Level: 5.0 15 Points