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A Hidden Magic Paperback – August 1, 1997

21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A plain princess, a conceited prince and a rejected marriage proposal are just a few of the elements in this imaginative parody of traditional fairytales. Ages 9-11.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6-This "Words Take Wing" Repertory Company production of Vivian Vande Velde's humorous tongue-in- cheek fantasy (Crown, 1985) has mixed success. Listeners will enjoy the story of Jennifer, an impoverished princess who enters a forbidden enchanted forest with a handsome, self-centered prince who consistently makes bad decisions, acts upon them, and then blames others for the consequences. Jennifer is forced to seek help on her own when the prince falls under an enchantment. She meets a young sorcerer who, despite his limited powers, helps her outwit and overcome the various creatures and impediments to breaking the spell. The predominantly word-for-word (only some "he said, she said's" are omitted) reading of the story is adequate. Velde is the narrator, and while most of her reading is good, her marked accent with a flat "a" seems too down-to-earth and ill-suited to the playful fairy tale setting of the story. In addition, her pacing sometimes does not flow smoothly; she pauses between phrases and words that do not require pauses. The actors who read the dialogue play their parts well, but listeners are always aware that they are acting and some may never be drawn totally into the story. The dramatization of the dialogue is almost distracting as it contrasts with the undramatic narration. Audio quality is good throughout. Despite its minor flaws, children will enjoy this production. With its humorous reversal of traditional fairy tale roles, it will provide good entertainment for group or individual listening.
Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (August 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152012001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152012007
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Oddsfish VINE VOICE on August 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the first book I've read by Vivian Vande Velde, and I'm sure I will return to her. A Hidden Magic by her was utterly delightful. It is a rich parody of the fantasy genre. The plot follows Jennifer. She is a princess, but certainly not the usual type. Her country is so poor that she is basically a peasant. One day the most handsome prince ever comes through her country looking for a wife. They're going to fall in love, right? He is rich and handsome, but he is also arrogent and dumb. Together one day, the prince and Jennifer wander into the magical forest of her country. The prince, being his usual brilliant self, falls under a spell of the evil sorceress Malveenya. Jennifer is forced to try to save the prince. She eventually happens upon Norman, a sorcerer. He's young and not overly powerful, but he is smart and a friend. Together, Jennifer and Norman set out to confront Malveenya and save the prince.
A Hidden Magic is a pretty exciting story. The greatest thing about the book though is its humor. Vande Velde uses a lot of word-play which works very well. The scene with the dragon is the best in the book. A Hidden Magic is a very entertaining novel. Other books in this vein are the Dealing With Dragons series by Patricia Wrede, of course the Harry Potter books, Smith of Wooten Major and Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Princess Bride by William Goldman (though this one is for older readers), and also everything by Lloyd Alexander.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 11, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
A not so ordinarily perfect princess named Jennifer meets snobby ego-packed prince named Alexander. He makes themgi into an Enchanted Forest, where he falls under a spell. Jennifer goes off to find a way to save him. she meets, Witches, Sorcerers, Dragons, and the occasional Giant along with many others.
This book is for all ages and I recomend it to everyone. I would rate this book a 100. I think it's a must read and you should definatly get it, it's a good cassette as well as book, and the company is really good because they have different people doing the different characters, if you like this one you should look at The Arkadians and Dealing with Dragons. I hope you found this helpful and thanks for reading it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you enjoy books about princesses (the strong, good kind that don't make you puke) and books about sourcerers (the kind that do unexpected things that are awsomely powerful and can change into things) or if you like stories about witches (but not the kind that eat their worts off their own faces)then this is the book for you. Jennifer(the princess) has to save Alexander (the prince) from an evil spell. She gets help from Norman (the sorcerer) and escapes from a dragon and a giant's house. In the end she gets married but that's a surprise. It's a fantastic book and I know you'll love it! It even has great pictures!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
Once upon a time-before kings and queens were replaced by an act of congress and when kissing a frog still sometimes resulted in more than a case of warts-there lived a young princess named Jennifer.
So begins Vivian Vande Velde's fairy tale, A Hidden Magic. As you might expect, Jennifer meets Prince Charming who is immediately bowled over by her grace and beauty. The two marry and live happily ever after, having perfect children who someday grow up to have perfect children of their own. Well, okay, so Prince Charming isn't really bowled over by her beauty. And he isn't really that charming. In fact, I've rarely met a more egotistical (self-centered) stuck up prig in my life. But he is pretty to look at, and to a young somewhat homely girl like Jennifer that seems important.
This story is an obvious parody (misrepresentation) of the standard fairy tale. A Hidden Magic feels somewhat predictable at times. This book is almost exactly the opposite of the standard "handsome prince rescues princess" story, which we are all used to reading and in its attempt to parody it loses much in the way of originality.
The characters are:
Jennifer, a princess who's a bit homely and works at her father's old, run-down castle. Later, when she is faced with adversity (difficulty), she reacts well, keeping her goal in mind and doing her best to achieve it. She has a chubby, good-natured kind of face that parents would tend to call nice and sweet disposition (character) and really is quite a likable girl, but certainly isn't your typical princess.
Prince Alexander is a bold, arrogant (self-centered), proud, exquisite to look at and totally aware of it, and generally a royal pain. Women fall all over him and her knows it.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Willow and Jasmine on August 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was really cute. That's the best word to describe it. It is about a girl named Jennifer who falls in love with a handsome and arrogant prince, Alexander. He falls under a spell because of his vanity and she sets out on a dangerous quest to save him. Soon she meets up with a wizard named Norman who decides against his better judgement to help her. However, something dreadful happens and he is stuck in the shape of an old man. Finally, after many trials involving giants, dragons and evil witches, the prince is freed. However, Jennifer has changed her mind about him and decides that good looks aren't everything after all. Norman is eventually returned to his real shape and they all live happily ever after. It is a good quick read with humor and likeable characters. Kids will love it!
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