Jim Henson's Enchanted Sisters: Autumn's Secret Gift

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Jim Henson's Enchanted Sisters: Autumn's Secret Gift Book Poster Image
Magic and rainbows unite for a sweet early chapter book.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Although not appearing to be intentionally educational, there are some weather terms included in the story, including "aurora borealis." The story highlights the magical term for them and then the name humans associate with the particular weather phenomenon.

Positive Messages

Positive messages throughout the book include focusing on teamwork, sisterhood, and responsibility and the value of occasionally stepping out of your comfort zone. Another positive message is the importance of being comfortable with yourself and with the unique skills and talents you have to contribute to the world.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Overall, the female characters are presented in a positive light. There are some stereotypes, but they're based on individual personalities, not necessarily based on being female. The mother figure is all-knowing and caring but presents a counterbalance to some of the dewiness of the story by giving serious, sound advice. One negative issue is the way boys are portrayed. They are stereotyped by gender and generally are wicked. At this point in the series, they have few redeeming qualities.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jim Henson's Enchanted Sisters: Autumn's Secret Gift is the start of a series of books for early readers starring four royal princesses​ named after the seasons who dwell in Mother Nature's kingdom and are in charge of magically changing the seasons. There are plenty of sweet images, such as pink dolphins and glittery rainbows. Parents may object to girls always being portrayed as good while boys are always portrayed as naughty. Next up: Winter's Flurry Adventure, to be published in October 2014.

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What's the story?

Autumn has always been known for being steady and predictable. She likes to cautiously think things through before taking action. That's never been a problem ... until now. When her sister, Winter, basically calls her boring, Autumn begins to wonder if there's something wrong with her. Her distraction causes problems during the season-change ceremony, and Mother Earth notices. Autumn's resolve and outlook on being "safe" is put to the test when she has to join forces with her three enchanted sisters to save something very precious from the Weeds: four boys who absolutely love to ruin things for the Enchanted Sisters. Will she play it safe or risk it all to save Mother Earth's secret gift?

Is it any good?

Authors Elise Allen and Halle Stanford create a fun and magical journey in JIM HENSON'S ENCHANTED SISTERS: AUTUMN'S SECRET GIFT. The book is a treat for early readers who love all things sparkly, pink, and sweet. Magical animals and princesses; a kind, caring mother; and a fluffy, fun ride will go a long way to capture the imagination of young readers. Targeted specifically toward girls, the story does a disservice to the boys in the book. When they do appear, boys are described as troublemakers and are shown to have quite the mean streak. Even the adult male who leads them is regarded with dislike and suspicion. These characteristics make this the kind of story that may feed into the negative "boys-versus-girls" mentality. 

A couple of things that stand out are the focus on sisterhood despite disagreements and the multicultural cast of characters. Overall, the series has a promising start and surely will be a favorite of little girls who like a little bit of magic. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Autumn tries something new. Why is it important to try new things and seek new ways to solve problems? Have you ever felt like Autumn?

  • What's so fun about books with characters who have magical powers? What others have you read? 

  • What's one important thing Autumn learns about working with her sisters? What have you learned about working as a team?

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For kids who love magic and strong girl characters

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