A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sarah Mlynowski's Whatever After series brings an adventurous brother and sister smack into some of our most beloved fairy tales, and does it in a way that respects the fables many of us grew up reading while adding new twists to the plots. The fairy tales are well known, but the way Abby and Jonah navigate and change the storyline just enough to make it their own is full of humor, updated to overcome sexist overtones, and a delight to read.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the WHATEVER AFTER series, siblings Abby and Jonah discover that a magic mirror in the basement of their new home transports them into fairy tales their nana used to read to them. Lonely and homesick in their new town, they find friends and adventures when they're dropped into "The Frog Prince," "Snow White," "Cinderella," "Rapunzel," "The Little Mermaid," and more. Abby is smart and tenacious, never giving up on what is right and being a protective, kind big sister; Jonah is an adventurous, kind little brother, impish and brave. Together, they enter the world of fairy tales, trying to save princesses and rescue princes -- but not to disrupt the details of the stories they love -- all while making it home to their beds by 7a.m., when their unknowing parents will wake them for school.
Is it any good?
These stories are fun to read. While most of us are familiar with the basic plots of most fairy tales, Whatever After puts all our known endings in doubt, because after Jonah and Abby prevent Snow White from eating the poison apple, how will the prince save her with a kiss and marry her for a happily-ever-after? The plots stay tense with Abby and Jonah's antics, witty writing, and new twists in every chapter. By updating the fairy tale enough for, say, Snow White to say she's only 16 and wants to focus on running her kingdom, not on getting married, these books offer a fresh, funny, empowering look at stories young readers love.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how fairy tales are treated in the Whatever After series. Why are fairy tales handed down generation after generation? What are some of your favorites?
When Abby and Jonah decide how to preserve the fairy tale in Whatever After and still make it home before their parents wake up, what do they decide is most important to save, and what are they OK with changing?
What other books are different versions of familiar fairy tales?
- Author: Sarah Mlynowski
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Fairy Tales
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
- Publication date: May 1, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 169
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: February 13, 2020
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