A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Enchantress Returns is the second installment in Glee star Chris Colfer's Land of Stories series; the first book, The Wishing Spell, hit No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Colfer's many subplots gallop along at a breakneck pace, mixing swordplay, high tragedy, low comedy, poignant partings, and tender reunions in a creative tale with positive values and great heart. Colfer's narrative voice is often like that of a precocious, snarky middle-schooler, blending slang, pretentious words, and occasional innuendo with gusto. Some heavy issues, including the death of parents and other losses, mix with wisecracks and fantasy.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Since they got home from the Land of Stories following the adventures in The Wishing Spell, Conner and Alex Bailey, now 13, have often missed their fairy-tale-character companions and longed to return. When their mother suddenly disappears, they soon learn that she's been abducted to the fairytale world by an enchantress who seems bent on destroying everything in her path. Defying their grandmother, who's trying to keep them safe, they figure out a way to get back to the Land of Stories, where they quickly reunite with Froggy, Goldilocks, Jack, Red, et al in a quest to save the twins' mother, a kidnapped baby, and the world.
Is it any good?
Author Chris Colfer's narrative balance of wisdom and wisecracks frequently strikes an odd note in THE ENCHANTRESS RETURNS, but many kids will find that part of the charm. His breezy, engaging style sometimes doesn't quite work with the emotional and ethical issues that drive many characters; squabbling queen-zillas, beloved people dying or in mortal danger, happy reunions and dramatic reversals follow one another with video-game-like pacing and keep the pages turning, though sometimes at the expense of character development beyond the cartoon stage.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why new stories about familiar characters are so popular. How do you feel about the fairy tale characters who appear here compared with the versions of them in other stories?
Traditionally, fairy tales were used to teach lessons. Do you think there are any lessons being taught here? If so, what do you think they are?
Why do you think the Enchantress and Alex turned out so differently when they seem to have a lot in common?
- Author: Chris Colfer
- Genre: Fairy Tale
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Book Characters, Brothers and Sisters, Fairy Tales, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: August 6, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 528
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: May 7, 2020
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