My big kid loves to read, has loved reading ever since she was a teeny weeny and continues to love reading. Today’s post is about The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer. Book 1, The Wishing Spell is featured in the photo but this really isn’t much of a book review as it is a huge ‘thank you’ to authors like Chris Colfer for breathing life into words.
Children’s Book Review: what can I say about The Land of Stories without completing spilling the beans?
This might be the most confusing post I’ve ever written as I try to dance around the different plots without giving too much away. What can I tell you without spilling too much?
Take familiar nursery rhymes and children’s tales; add some innovative plots and twists and you have The Land of Stories. Alex and Conner are two siblings who live in our world and end up traveling into the world of fairy tales. They meet characters like Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother, Goldilocks, Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk) and more. Each book is full of adventure, plots and twists that I would have never imagined possible.
Most of us know the basics of the different fairy tales. Goldilocks and the Three Bears, for instance, tells the tale of a girl who goes into the bears’ home, tries different furniture and the porridge, but have you ever wondered why she was there in the first place?
Read ‘The Land of Stories’ and you’ll know why (and it wasn’t her fault!). Alex and Conner meet Goldilocks (as a grown up) within the fairytale world and learn the truth of what happened that fateful day.
Let’s just say, a certain girl with a hood was involved.
Shocker and that’s just a small teeny weeny moment in the storyline!
I haven’t even mentioned Mother Goose yet (she’s a riot!) or Lester (do I dare tell you who Lester is?) Hint: he’s not human but is closely connected to Mother Goose.
Did I mention there’s magic, fairies, and trolls?
Ugh, there’s so much I can’t tell you!
Each book within ‘The Land of Stories’ series is full of suspense and depth. Beyond the dangers that Alex and Conner experience, there is also a strong sense of family that many children will be able to relate to. The text isn’t too complex and is suitable for school age children.
Is ‘The Land of Stories’ for your child?
Well, you see, that depends on what your child likes.
‘The Land of Stories’ books are thick and content heavy. There are a lot of plots and turns that are built on layered knowledge which I happen to like. It empowers children to remember earlier details for those ‘AHA’ moments. The books are written simply enough with vocabulary that would be suitable for the schoolage crowd. My big kid is 10 now and finds them quite intriguing. As the series develops the plot does get darker. We’re currently into book 5 and while the content is quite heavy and serious, it’s nowhere near as intensely dark as Harry Potter. There’s also a lot of humour (thanks to certain characters that shall remain nameless) which lead to quite a few chuckles.
My reading tip: develop signature voices for key characters. Not only does this breathe more life into an already vivid storyline for your child but it also helps to keep you engaged in the story!
The one biggest flaw about these books: Chris Colfer relies on the word ‘said’ far too much. My daughter and I noticed this as we were reading the books together. Every paragraph seemed to be plastered with the word ‘said’ (e.g. Alex said..then Conner said..followed by Goldilocks saying something and Jack saying something else). Instead of using words like “replied”, “muttered”, “gasped”, “asked”, or “responded”, at times Chris Colfer seemed more focused on moving the storyline forward instead of finding more suitable variations to correspond with the action at hand.
So, what did we do? Depending on our mood, we’d change up the word ‘said’ to something that seemed more appropriate for what was happening in the storyline. Other times, we’d laugh about it and yell ‘said’ just to emphasize it more. If I had to guess, Chris Colfer was probably on a roll at that moment and couldn’t stop. It’s not a huge flaw but it was one that caught our eye.
So, review is done and you probably feel like you haven’t learned a single thing about this book series. After all, what is ‘The Land of Stories’ about? Well, there are likely a ton of book reviews out there that will give you a play by play of the story which I had no intention of doing.
What I hope you’ve gathered from this random post is how much fun Chris Colfer has made reading. Fairy tales and nursery rhymes are so well known that they’ve become a little stale along the way. I don’t know how he did it but Chris Colfer managed to intertwine them all to make this one elaborate story with multi-worlds and characters. As children read the books they practice perspective taking and juggling a lot of content in their working memory.
Bottom line: children are engaged when they read ‘The Land of Stories’.
Recommendation: read it with your child! I’m sure glad I did!
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