Diary of a Fairy Godmother

Overview

Hunky Dory's mother always told her, “You'll be the wickedest witch wherever the four winds blow." And why not? She's at the top of her class in charm school. She can make flowers wilt like wet spaghetti. And she can turn any prince into a frog–but she always changes him back. That's when she knows she has a problem.
Hunky Dory's interest in wishcraft over witchcraft gets her kicked out of charm school. Now she's determined to follow her heart and become a fairy godmother. But ...
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Overview

Hunky Dory's mother always told her, “You'll be the wickedest witch wherever the four winds blow." And why not? She's at the top of her class in charm school. She can make flowers wilt like wet spaghetti. And she can turn any prince into a frog–but she always changes him back. That's when she knows she has a problem.
Hunky Dory's interest in wishcraft over witchcraft gets her kicked out of charm school. Now she's determined to follow her heart and become a fairy godmother. But how to go about doing it? She gives a woodsman a new mustache, and grants Wolf his strange wish for a grandmother costume. Finally, motivated by jealousy over her friend Rumpelstiltskin's crush on the girl in the roomful of straw, she meets the ticket to realizing her career dream–Cinderella.
This fresh, funny twist on fairy tales is just right for girls who have not quite outgrown the magic of classic stories–and who are open to unconventional happily-ever-afters!
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Codell (Sahara Special) concocts some playful twists to familiar fairytales and conventional morality in this uneven story about a misfit witch. Hunky Dory, witch in training, is at the top of her class in charm school. Her mother has high hopes of her becoming "the wickedest witch wherever the four winds blow." But Hunky, who narrates, secretly aspires to be a fairy godmother; and her Auntie refers to "F.G.s" as "vapid little underachievers." The first time the heroine adjusts a curse (her Auntie's), changing Sleeping Beauty's death sentence into a 100-year snooze, Hunky detects a wonderful, strange sensation: "It was a warm feeling, but it wasn't a sick feeling. It was spreading, though, from my feet and legs and into my hands and up my neck." From then on she's hooked on doing good deeds even though it means getting expelled from school and being disowned by her mother. Young readers may well be tickled by Hunky's encounters with Rumplestiltskin (on whom she has a crush), Goldilocks (whom Hunky transforms into Glinda, the Good Witch of the North) and Cinderella (who is reluctant to marry a prince who is "all hands and sugar talk"). The author's message about good and evil being almost the same thing, however, comes across as somewhat convoluted and perhaps too heavy-handed for this lighthearted tale. Codell more successfully conveys the idea that people rarely wish for what they truly desire. Ages 7-11. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Trina Heidt
Hunky Dory is a good witch. In fact, she is at the head of her class in charm school. Her mother predicts that one day she will be the wickedest witch wherever the four winds blow. The only problem is that Hunky does not really know if she wants to be that witch. She likes her life of witchery but what really makes her tingle is wishery, the granting of other people's wishes. When her teacher, friends, and family find out that her secret wish is to be a F. G. (fairy godmother), it is disastrous at first. She is kicked out of charm school and her mother even kicks her out of the cave, but all of this only makes Hunky more determined to follow her heart. She builds her own house (chocolate chip cookie), opens a wish-granting business (Spells by the Well), and thinks day and night about fulfilling her goal of becoming a fairy godmother. Through it all, she finds that the wisdom she had been learning as a witch in charm school from the textbook Be the One with the Wand often applies just as well with the wish-granting of fairy godmothers. With a cast of characters that includes reinvented versions of Rumplestiltskin, Goldilocks, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, to name a few, this farcical take on fairy tales is endlessly entertaining and welcomingly witty. Readers will be willing travelers on Hunky's journey to follow her heart and be the one with the wand.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-With humor and ingenuity, Codell weaves an unusual, intriguing, and enjoyable story. Hunky Dory is the top student in her charm school, but her inner conflict about the purpose of witchcraft plagues her. She wonders if it must always be focused on evil. Hunky becomes interested in the work of fairy godmothers, a group looked down upon by ordinary witches, and, after much soul searching, she concludes that she wants to become one. Characters from well-known fairy tales weave in and out of the story. The protagonist's conflict with her mother escalates when she is thrown out of school for questioning the value of evil and of granting wishes. Her Aunt Malice is the voice of wisdom and helps guide her on her search for her own true mission. Double entendres add to the book's humor. Underlying the fantasy are subtleties about school cliques, the challenge of listening to one's own voice, and the need for girls to value intelligence and power rather than superficial attributes. There are references throughout the book to the wisdom found in Be the One with the Wand, the charm school's textbook; it offers valid advice to live by ("If you're between a rock and a hard place, stand still"). This is a fun read that will have particular appeal to fans of Eva Ibbotson's Not Just a Witch (Dutton, 2003).-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Hunky Dory is at the top of her class at charm school, destined to be the "wickedest witch wherever the four winds blow." But Hunky Dory would rather work on wishcraft than witchcraft to become an F.G. (Fairy Godmother). "I can't help it. It's who I am," she says. In a deliciously lively and inventive tale of one witch's path to self-fulfillment, Codell displays charming wordplay, and offers allusions to Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, Baba Yaga, Heckedy Peg and a host of other characters in tales that readers will love recognizing. There's plenty of wisdom about life here, too, and the admonition to be the best you can be. "If you're going to leave us to be an F.G., don't just be any F.G. Be the best one. The one everyone will talk about for years." When she meets Cinderella, it's a dream (or wish) come true. Similar to Susan Cooper's The Magician's Boy (p. 118), but for a bit older audience, this volume will send readers off to other tales they know but perhaps have never read. (Fiction. 7-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307245168
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/14/2005
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 3 CDs, 3 hrs.
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.96 (w) x 5.77 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Esme Raji Codell is the author of the acclaimed novel Sahara Special, winner of the IRA Children’s Book Award, a Kirkus Editors’ Choice for 2003, and a BookSense 76 #1 title; as well as a memoir for young readers, Sing a Song of Tuna Fish: Hard-to-Swallow Stories from Fifth Grade. A former teacher, bookseller, and children’s librarian, she lives with her husband and son in Chicago. Sahara Special and Sing a Song of Tuna Fish Hard-to-Swallow Stories from Fifth Grade are also available on audio from Listening Library.
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