The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer is about the Bailey twins, Alex and Conner, who, even though they're twins, couldn't be more different. Alex is an exceptionally smart, kind, and caring girl, while Conner constantly falls asleep in class. They live with their mother in a small rental house, their mother struggling with money after the twins' father died in a car crash. They lived a simple life, until the twins' 12th birthday. Their grandmother surprises them with a few presents, and a huge dinner she cooked. Then she pulls out one last thing. A storybook titled The Land of Stories, a book that has been a big part of their childhood - a book that their grandmother read to them whenever they had visited:
"She returned carrying a large, old book with a dark emerald cover titled The Land of Stories in gold writing. Alex and Conner knew what the book was as soon as they saw it. If their childhood could be symbolized by an object, it was this book" (59).Later that night, Alex goes to bed like normal, when all of a sudden, the book's pages start to glow. Alex finds out that you can actually drop things into the book. When it would start to glow, Alex would put something on the pages and it would slowly sink into the book and disappear!
Alex wonders what it would feel like if she put her hand into the book? So, one day, Alex puts her hand on the open book's pages. Like the other objects, it slowly sinks in. Alex keeps on going until her entire arm is in the book. Conner thinks that Alex is actually going to try to go into the The Land of Stories after she tells him that things can go in the book. So, while Alex has her arm in the book, Conner barges in to try to stop her, startling Alex, causing to fall over, headfirst into the book. Conner jumps in after her, and they become trapped in The Land of Stories.
The twins start walking around, looking for a way home, and instead find a talking frog-man, who Conner calls "Froggy." He tells them about the Wishing Spell, a magical spell that grants the user one wish. Alex and Conner decide to use this spell to get home. They have to collect a series of items, and grouping them together activates the spell. However, the Wishing Spell can only be used twice; Froggy tells them that it has been used once before (by who, I wonder?).
If that isn't enough, these items mostly belong to the monarchs of the fairy-tale world and the Evil Queen has escaped from the dungeons of Queen Snow White's palace and are after the same things that Alex and Conner are after. What could go wrong?
Do Alex and Conner manage to avoid the Evil Queen and get home safely? This story is about a pair of intelligent, brave (or completely insane) children weaved in with the lives of classic fairy-tale characters (Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks) as adults. The twins will face the Big Bad Wolf's descendants, escape being eaten alive by a witch and (accidentally) start a fire in Queen Red Riding Hood's castle in this thrilling novel!
And be sure to check out the 5 other books in this series: The Enchantress Returns; A Grimm Warning; Beyond The Kingdoms; An Author's Odyssey; and Worlds Collide!
Daddy's afterthoughts: So, a friend of mine messaged me that Julia's blog had made the front page of Reddit. Wow. Thank everyone so much for blowing my daughter's mind! The response has been (mostly) positive! Julia is beaming with pride and happiness! I read the comments, and wanted to address a few things, however...
No, Julia is not an "aspiring mommy blogger" masquerading as an 11-year-old girl. Yes, she and I co-blog, in that I review and give comments on her blog post rough drafts and then she revises them (sometimes more than once, as need be). Earlier blog posts have more of my influence, later blog posts are Julia weaned from my "helicoptering." (This post, for example, was all her, minus a few verb tense issues.) Lastly, I am a teacher, and so my "Daddy's afterthoughts" section is geared towards the parents of young readers. I try to avoid what one redditor called "pretentious intellectualising," but I suppose you can't please everybody.
Please continue to enjoy the blog! Thank you for your support and your comments, and please feel free to follow or leave comments!