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Book of Enchantments Hardcover – April 1, 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8?This enjoyable fantasy collection is comprised of 10 stories that vary widely in tone and setting. Some are laced with humor, while others have melancholy overtones. Two tongue-in-cheek tales are set in the "Enchanted Forest" of the author's dragon series (Harcourt). One of these selections involves a thoroughly conceited unicorn; the other a weapon of great power, the frying pan of doom. "The Lorelei" offers a modern version of the German legend. Another takeoff on an old story gives readers a look at what would have happened to Sleeping Beauty's castle if the prince had failed to arrive on time. Each selection stands alone, but also seems as if it might belong to some longer tale as yet untold. A chapter of notes from the author concludes the book. While a few of the stories may have messages that are a bit too subtle for the intended audience, the volume as a whole should have high appeal for fantasy lovers and might lure some newcomers to the genre.?Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 5^-8. This collection of short stories featuring enchantments offers a surprisingly varied selection. Most of the stories are set in a place of high fantasy--long ago and far away--yet several have modern settings. One is based on a fairy tale, another on a ballad, and a third was inspired by the biblical parable of the prodigal son. Even readers who aren't drawn to the literature of sword and sorcery may enjoy "Utensile Strength," a humorous tale in which a wizard tries to create the ultimate weapon and ends up with the Frying Pan of Doom. Those familiar with the genre will find it even funnier. A well-crafted anthology with several selections suitable for reading aloud. Carolyn Phelan

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152012559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152012557
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

PATRICIA C. WREDE has written many novels, including Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot and The Grand Tour coauthored with Caroline Stevermer, as well as the four books in her own series, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. She lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
These stories vary a lot in content and feel, but they're all wonderful. Each is well-written, with strong female characters.

"Rikiki and the Wizard" is written as a "S'Rian Folk Story", for a book of stories about an imaginary place called Liavek. It begins with a wizard who is very lucky and very famous. But, having fame, he wants it to last forever. So he decides to offer his daughter Ryvenna (beautiful, but more importantly, clever and kind) in marriage to a god. The gods are miffed that he didn't ask her or them, so they agree not to come when he summons them. One god, the blue chipmunk Rikiki, forgets. The wizard can't get Rikiki to fulfill his wish, since the only thing Rikiki is interested in is nuts. He doesn't know what fame is, so he can't bestow it. The wizard rapidly looses patience and tries to get rid of Rikiki, but his third attempt is foiled by Ryvenna. She explains things to Rikiki- but the result (I've told most of the plot, but I won't tell the entirity of this) is more like Midas for the wizard than anything else. Ryvenna, however, prospers.

"The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn" is about a talking cat, a vain unicorn, and a princess from a country called Oslett where nothing goes the way it does in the usual fairy tales. The fairies don't live close enough put curses on the Princesses, the only giant in the kingdom is nice, and the middle princess, Elyssa, is the one who gets an adventure. No one minds except the king's councelors, who are a pain. That's why Elyssa leaves; unlike in many stories, her family is enthusiastic. Also, she goes on an adventure for the sake of adventure, which very few women in fantasy do. Most of them are either running away or rescuing someone, which is fine, but overmany stories go like that. This one's fun.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read all the Enchanted Forest chronicles, and I was hoping for more of those stories when I read this. I was not disappointed, this book includes two EF stories. They add a touch of humor, especially the <drumroll> Frying Pan of Doom!. They offset the more serious ones very nicely, like the story about the good and evil swords--Whatsitcalled, Earthwitch, and Roses by Moonlight (doesn't the rose-lady in there remind you of Morwen from EF?) Then, some of the stories in there are, to all practical purposes, just plain spooky, like the story about the enchanted keep and the ghost-prince, Forgotwhatitscalled, and Cruel Sisters. There are also some lighthearted ones that aren't set in EF, like the 62 curses of Caliph Something, and the Rikikki story. That blue chipmunk is just SO CUTE!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
As one who has never been a big fan of short stories, as well as one that has never read a Patricia Wrede book before in her life, it was some wonder when I found myself picking up this book at the library and reading the blurb, that promised "a black sword of cruel potency, a plumed serpent drawn from stone, a harp made of bone that sings of murder..." I was hooked.
Each story is clearly and precisely written, and range from comedy to tragedy, from happily-ever-after fairytales to somewhat fractured traditional tales, and each one is a gem. Usually in anthologies there are a few clunkers, but here each one is original, witty and beautifully written. Whether you are a fan of Patricia Wrede's 'Enchanted Forest' books or not, this collection will delight any age group, and is essential to any fairytale lover. Many stories are excellent for reading aloud, and just as many are perfect for curling up under the covers with a torch late at night. This book has my highest recommendation.
To describe each and every story would have me exceeding the word limit on this review, so here are summaries of a few of my favourites, in no particular order-
'The Princess, the Cat and the Unicorn' has all the trademarks of what I quickly became familiar with as Wrede's technique for twisting traditional fairytale stereotypes on their head. Princess Elyssa is the middle sister of three, but she isn't jealous of them, her stepmother isn't trying to kill her, and she is perfectly able to out on adventures of her own. The unicorn in this tale is a welcome relief (as well as a parady) to the myraid of stories out there with gushy, sickly-sweet unicorns out there.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is filled with lots of fun, but it also really makes you think. One of my favorite stories was "Roses by Moonlight," in which a young girl is taken to a magical rose garden and asked to choose her destiny. It has lots of depth, emotion, and a cool ending! But some of the other tales take a different turn, into the world of magic, and even comedy. Who says a book of short stories can't have everything?
Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel Clemens) once said, "if I had had the time, they all would have been short stories!" It is very true, short stories are among the most difficult to write, but Patricia C. Wrede definitely pulls it off nicely in her "Book of Enchantments."
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