Granted

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Granted Book Poster Image
Grounded fairy learns to let her heart lead in magical tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Great vocabulary words include "kismet," "serendipity," and "obstinate." Shows importance of planning and adapting to unforeseen developments. Author's note urges interested readers to visit library to learn more about fairies in literature and legend.

Positive Messages

Just because something's been done a certain way for a long time doesn't mean it's the only way it should be done. Everything comes at a price -- you can't just take what you want with no consequences. While it's important to respect rules, it's OK to question whether they're appropriate, effective, or outdated. When a plan goes awry, you may get back on track by trying different approaches, seeking help, or even reassessing the goal.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ophelia is methodical and precise, taking pride in thorough, careful preparation for her work. When she finds herself in situations beyond her training, she's resourceful and adaptable. She's compassionate and empathetic. Loyal, caring friends Charlie and Sam go to great lengths to help Ophelia.

Violence & Scariness

Fairy in constant danger from predators, planes, vehicles, and humans and suffers serious injuries. Dog shows emotional effects of abuse by former owner. Reference to adult injured in military service.

Language

Some crude language ("butt," "pee"). No swearing, but fairies use their own versions of curse words like "mother-punching," "fartfiddled," and "flab-forkin."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Granted is a fantasy adventure by John David Anderson (Ms. Bixby's Last Day) about a fairy named Ophelia who's struggling mightily to fulfill her first wish-granting mission. She perseveres through daunting obstacles but comes to question the seemingly arbitrary rules that determine whose wishes get granted and why. Once Ophelia ventures outside the fairy home, she's in constant danger and is seriously injured. There are some references to alcohol, including fairies drinking wine, covering up tracks by letting a human think they'd gotten drunk, and using a beer case as a tool.

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What's the story?

Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets is finally getting her first wish-granting assignment in GRANTED. Her fairy home is endangered by the decline of magic, so every mission is critically important -- and Ophelia's ready to use all her training to grant a girl's wish to replace her stolen bike. But outside the Haven, Ophelia's blown off course by a near-miss with a plane, run-ins with hostile birds, and humans making her job harder (and more dangerous). Tired, bruised, and grounded with a broken wing, Ophelia forms an unlikely partnership with Sam, a stray dog who's had more than his share of misfortune too. As Ophelia gets closer to fulfilling her mission, however, she starts to wonder whether there's a better way to decide which wishes deserve to be fulfilled.

Is it any good?

Like a secret wish whispered into the world, John David Anderson's wistful story about a plucky young fairy trying to help keep magic alive is about hope and dreams of change against very long odds. Anderson (Posted, The Dungeoneers) writes with gentle compassion for his characters, from ambitious Ophelia to the wounded creatures she encounters on her quest. While granting a human's wish has long been Ophelia's own great wish, her unexpected adventures cause her to re-examine her beliefs about tradition, want, generosity, and kindness -- the rule-follower, imagining a better way, starts to rebel.

The story's beating heart is Sam, an abused and abandoned stray dog who helps Ophelia even when she tries to go it alone. He sticks by her with simple, straightforward loyalty: "Because you are broken and lost and I licked you, so now we are friends."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way Granted weaves fantasy into a modern setting. Do you prefer fantasy that's grounded in the real world, or fantasy that involves a wholly separate imagined world?

  • What do you do when you want to provide more for others than you're really able to manage?

  • Where is your haven -- your safe place where you feel warm, loved, and supported?

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