A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.