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Imagine if Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rumplestiltskin were all real. Imagine if all the fairy tale characters lived together, in another world. It’s not possible right? That’s what Alex and Conner Bailey think, that is until they are magically transported to this fictional world. What happened to Goldilocks after she left the three bears' house? How did Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty all marry Prince Charming without marrying the same man? What really happened to the Little Mermaid at the end of her story? All these questions and more, are answered in Chris Colfer’s wonderfully spun story of the fairy tale world. Most adventure books have one character who’s out of the ordinary, who’s super powerful, right from the start. Not this series. Not only is there one, normal protagonist, there are two somewhat average co-protagonists. Twins, named Alex and Conner Bailey. Alex is a bookworm, and Conner is something of a class clown. Later in the series, they both become more powerful, but they stay characters that real people can sympathize with, and feel like aren’t some super-powerful character that’s like nobody else.

The twins' whole world turns upside down when they discover that there is another dimension: A fairy tale dimension. The twins are thrown into one adventure of a lifetime after another. From flying a ship across the clouds in hopes to stop the evil Enchantress who cursed Sleeping Beauty, to battling the Evil Queen who wanted to kill Snow White, to climbing Rapunzel’s tower, or being kidnapped by trolls and goblins.

The six-book series is one that I’ve returned to time and again since I read it for the first time when I was eight. Now, at age twelve, I still enjoy it. Not only are Alex and Conner funny, intriguing characters, but it is so interesting to learn what Chris Colfer imagined had happened to your favorite fairy tale characters after their stories are over. Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Goldilocks, Jack, and the Fairy Godmother are just a few of the characters you get to meet within the series. And there are so many other things that aren’t in the original fairy tales that make the fairy tales so much more interesting. Like why was the Evil Queen so evil? What made her turn from a lovely young woman to a terrifying monarch? And was there a reason that the Prince Charmings just happened to find Snow White or Sleeping Beauty? Were they searching for something else?

Another thing that I love about The Land of Stories is that it’s easy to see yourself within the pages. Maybe you’re a bookworm, like Alex, or a class clown, like Connor. Maybe you yourself have a twin. Maybe you see yourself in Goldilocks, or one of the fairies from the Fairy Kingdom.

I would recommend The Land of Stories to anyone ages nine and up. The stories do get scarier as they go on, but the first one is not that scary, and is okay for a slightly younger audience.

The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!

Want more fairy tale-themed stories? Check out the stories that young writers came up with during our Saturday Writing Workshop with the theme Fairy Tales with a Twist.

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