Whatever After Series

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Whatever After Series Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Plot twists in beloved fairy tales make spirited stories.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The books have some survival skills and a bit of literary history. The series tells many versions of a fairy tale, from Grimm to Disney and many in between.

Positive Messages

This series values kindness (even/especially toward a sibling), doing the right thing, perseverance, optimism, and honesty.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The sister and brother, Abby and Jonah, look out for and genuinely like each other. Their parents are loving and supportive, as are the adults around them -- at least the ones who aren't a fairy tale's evil queen or henchman.

Violence & Scariness

There's tension in the stories, but that's what makes them work. Abby and Jonah are in sometimes in danger, but it's mild for the readers' age. There's more of a threat of harm than true violence in these books. 


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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykelkey May 25, 2019

Sweet and Funny... and a little feminism

This series is really cute, I’ve read the books with my younger daughter (6) and my 9 year old enjoys them as well. The main characters Abby and Jonah find a... Continue reading
Adult Written bykristinw3 September 1, 2017

A fun series to read with your daughter

My daughter and I have been reading this series together since she was 5. These books are cute and very positive. The main character is strong but recognizes... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old March 27, 2021

I’m so sick of people making this seem like such a light hearted, little kid series!

People have got to stop portraying this as just a fun princess story for little kids! It’s totally not. Now let’s dive into my review.

Educational value: It’s... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 5, 2018

A is for amazing

If you like adventure and your a girl than you are definitely going to love these books .its really funny (don't eat while reading the funny parts, you... Continue reading

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love magic and fairy tales

Themes & Topics

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