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The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Hardcover – July 17, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Series: Land of Stories
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (July 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031620157X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316201575
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (482 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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, MAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

"There's more in Colfer's magic kingdoms than Disney has dreamt of."—USA Today

"It will hit big with its combination of earnestness and playful poise."—The New York Times Book Review

"In The Land of Stories, Colfer showcases his talent for crafting fancifully imaginative plots and multidimensional characters."—Los Angeles Times

"Captivating."—Teen Vogue

"A magical debut."—Family Circle

"It's hard not to love [the book]...Colfer gets off many good lines [and] the nifty ending ties the plot's multiple strands up while leaving room for further fairy tale adventures."—Publishers Weekly

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

This book is fantastic if you love fairy tales and a Chris Colfer fan.
Amazon Customer
First of all, I loved the coverart and the whole design, it makes you feel like you are really reading something special from the get go.
James Agee
The story is very enjoyable, very well plotted and with characters that just hold on to your heart even after you are done reading.
Timijan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Leslie W on July 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A promising first novel from an imaginative young talent. Even though Colfer is a newcomer to the world of novel writing, I feel that he accomplished what he set out to accomplish with this book.

Children (especially those who have feelings of inadequacy or who have suffered early tragedy, just like Colfer did as a child) will find lots of hope within its pages, along with bravery and kindness and self-acceptance. It's a book about how every seemingly happy ending creates a new set of struggles to contend with, which you have to keep trying your best to overcome -- while also making good moral decisions and finding some kind of peace in spite of hardship. It's also a book about how things often seem to happen for a reason, and how unexpectedly wonderful things can happen as a result of painful struggles.

The book has some interesting meditations on the nature of deep loneliness and longing -- and what people are capable of doing to remedy those heartaches. It's one of the strongest themes that run throughout the story. It appears as a theme in many ways with a variety of outcomes, and manages to be melancholy and uplifting at the same time, which is really lovely. Even with all of that sadness being examined so deeply, the book manages to be really funny and light.

Another thing the book does strongly is preaching the power of understanding and compassion, even towards people who have done terrible things. It doesn't condone those terrible things, and it heavily emphasizes doing the RIGHT thing, but it deftly paints the characters as more complex humans than the classic Good Vs Evil stories do, which makes it all much more interesting and more relevant to real world conflicts.
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82 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Jacq Russell on July 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
But those parts were wonderful in their own way.

The book is nicely written, but the real stars of the book are the characters. All the characters have disarming vulnerabilities and a wisdom you don't expect in a book written for kids, or even in a book written by someone so young.

It's especially noteworthy that the female characters are always independent, driven, wise and strong. That isn't always the case in traditional tellings of these tales.

There are still a few typos in the Kindle version, but nothing too distracting.

Honestly, I'd recommend this to almost anyone, ages 8+. It's a fun, easy read and I'd be a lot happier about kids reading these fairytales than pretty much everything else out there.
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131 of 163 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Levesque on September 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The main reason I am writing this review here is because I am tired of hearing only positive things about this book. I find it misleading and I know that there are many other better written stories for our readers. Chris Colfer is an actor on the television show Glee, and this book reads like a long drawn out screenplay. Descriptions are either nonexistent or so basic that my students could paint a far better image. When describing a cavalcade of knights arriving in front the twins, Colfer describes them only by saying: "Their armor was clean and shiny." OK...
Colfer puts most of his story in the dialogue and the narration seems to be just a means to link those speaking parts together. He misses the beauty that can go into a well written narrative. A story should not leave its reader breaking away from the flow to consider how awkwardly written it is. Truly though, I could go on and on, and that would be too harsh. So, here are a few things that bothered me in a (sort of) list:

The extreme overuse of poor similes:
"Mrs. Peters was staring at her as if she had just witnessed a gruesome rural animal give birth."
(I couldn't think of a gruesome rural animal...pig, cow, mouse. Dunno.)
"Alex clambered up the tree faster than any animal she had ever seen in a documentary."
(Doesn't that just flow off the lips.)
Compares the witch with the gingerbread house to: "...staring at her as if she were a rabid Tyranosaurus rex about to pounce on them at any moment."
(#1 rabid T-rex. #2 would pounce be the best word to describe the movement of a T-rex? #3 the word rabies makes, I believe, 3 appearances. At least one more I flagged when the twins come upon some unicorns. )
The similes go on and on and on and on...

Lack of revision.
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57 of 70 people found the following review helpful By CalliFlower on September 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I bought this for my sixth-grade class library. I read a lot of children's books so that I can make recommendations for my students.

So, I wonder if I'm the only Glee fan to give Chris a poor review. Now, the premise is pretty good, and I love how all the kingdoms are next to each other, and there are parts so far that I have enjoyed. I am on Chapter 10 - about halfway through - and this is such a weak book. I think too many people were "supportive" before this book went to print. Where was his editor? I quote: Alex and Connor (the main characters) "were so petrified, they were paralyzed." Um, yeah, that's kind of the definition of petrified. Earlier in the story, when the twins were given the (magical) storybook by their grandmother (a book that had been treasured by generations of their family, apparently), Alex thinks "It was like receiving an heirloom from a relative that was still alive." Yes, Chris, getting a treasured family object from a visiting grandmother is a lot like receiving an heirloom from a living relative - in that those are exactly the same things.
Last example, when the children are in the storybook land, and Alex is looking at the buildings of the city, she thinks "It was like being in a storybook."

This is harsh, but there's an episode of "Friends" where Joey has to write an official letter, and so he uses a thesaurus to change every other word to a synonym, reducing the letter to gibberish. There's a place or two in this book where I imagine Chris did the same thing.

This is why it's worth having a really good editor. I don't know if there were too many "yes-men," or if Chris Colfer refuses to listen to any constructive criticism, but I expected a lot more from him.
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