My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Abby and Jonah have promised their parents that they wouldn’t play in the basement at night, but they have burning questions to ask Maryrose, their home’s magic mirror. So one night, they sneak into the basement, knock on the mirror and find themselves once again sucked into fairy tale land.
They seem to have found them selves in the story of The Frog Prince, with a talking frog for a companion and a mean princess who refuses to help change the frog back into a prince. But, appearances aren’t what they seem, and soon they find themselves questioning their first impressions of the land.
My children are very fond of these Whatever After books, and they are the kind of books that they would usually read independently. However, we started reading the Whatever After books long before any of my children were independent readers, so we still continue to read them together for fun.
Abby and Jonah’s continued deception of their parents irks me as a parent, but when they tried to come clean with their parents a few books ago, Maryrose removed their parents’ memories of their knowledge of fairy tale lands. They continue to trust Maryrose and see her as a good guy, and I suppose from the evidence of the books that she is. However, because of the prevalence of “bad guys” in the world, I do not like the idea of someone (even a magic mirror) making sure that Abby and Jonah conceal their actions from their parents.
Beyond that, these stories are silly and harmless enough. Jonah and Abby always mess up the fairy tale, and they always have to figure out how to reach a happy ending before they can come home. They usually find that the happy ending that they reach is not the traditional storybook ending, but everyone ends up happy anyway.
Even better, Abby usually finds some sort of life lesson in the fairy tale to help her in real life. In this book, the message is one of the pain that is often behind the actions of a bully. It’s not a deep lesson, but I think it is one that many children can relate to.