The Land of Stories: An Enchanting Series I'm Enjoying with My Daughter

(photo: Register Files)

This summer, my ten-year-old has reached a milestone: she's finally finishing books. Instead of starting one, and then another, and then another, until a pile of 20 is beside her bed and a different pile of 10 is scattered around the house, she's starting and finishing books.

Which means she's adding to my reading pile at an alarming (and delightful) rate.

When she first introduced me to The Land of Stories: A Wishing Spell, I thought it looked cute, maybe even good. The concept sounded good, but I have a streak of cynical that can't even be cured by great covers or New York Times bestseller status.

The premise of the first book: twins Alex and Connor are given a favorite old fairy tale book by Grandma. Then, somehow, they end up inside the book. It doesn't take them long to realize that they are inside their favorite fairy tales, in a land where the fairy tale kingdoms are connected together in a way that's clever and even a bit mysterious (until you get to the end).

Part of what makes these fun to read is the way Colfer envisioned the fairy tales continuing: Cinderella's about to have a baby, Goldilocks is a fugitive, Red Riding Hood has a kingdom, Sleeping Beauty is struggling with being awake, and they all have personalities that just fit. Also, all the Prince Charmings are brothers, a detail I’ll admit I reveled in just a bit.

Alex and Connor want to get home, but to do it, they need to fulfill a sort of magical scavenger hunt, going from kingdom to kingdom in search of items. They have a helper of sorts, but they're also up against more than a few challenges.

This book is great adventure made even more fun by the fact that I didn't find anything objectionable about them. No veiled hints, no sideways winks, no inside jokes. It's good storytelling through and through.

It took me two days to read it, and I couldn't wait to read the next book in the series. When we happened to be shopping a few days later, I was sure to buy it, The Enchantress Returns. My daughter promptly snuck it away from me, lost it at school, found it again, and insisted I should read it right away. Of course, by then I was swamped with other I never did get to it. (It is my hope and prayer that it will be my next read!)

By now, there are two -- TWO! -- other books out: A Grimm Warning and Beyond the Kingdoms. We'll be reading them as soon as we can get them...and hopefully before summer ends!