A Hidden Magic

( 7 )

Overview

Once upon a time there was a very nice but very plain princess named Jennifer, who, following proper fairy-tale protocol, fell for a very handsome but very conceited prince named Alexander. When Alexander offends a powerful witch, it falls to Jennifer to save him. In the course of doing so, she meets a wizard and soon wonders if she’s such a proper fairy-tale princess after all—a good little princess would love Alexander, but does she?

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A Hidden Magic

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Overview

Once upon a time there was a very nice but very plain princess named Jennifer, who, following proper fairy-tale protocol, fell for a very handsome but very conceited prince named Alexander. When Alexander offends a powerful witch, it falls to Jennifer to save him. In the course of doing so, she meets a wizard and soon wonders if she’s such a proper fairy-tale princess after all—a good little princess would love Alexander, but does she?

Lost in a magic forest and separated from her prince, Princess Jennifer seeks help from a kindly young sorcerer in battling an evil witch.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4-6 An original and delightful parody of the classic fairy tale genre. Velde uses humorous contemporary dialogue to tell the story of the quite ordinary but spirited princess-heroine Jennifer, who finds herself in the position of saving the life of a spoiled prince and dealing with a most unconventional young sorcerer. Velde has tackled a difficult idea. The fairy tale genre has been parodied on many occasions, and parodies have the potential of becoming wearisome in their inevitable use of cliches. However, despite a wicked witch, a magic mirror, a dark forest and a handsome prince, Velde's approach remains fresh and definitely amusing. Characters have unusual twists to their personalities and become individuals rather than stereotypes. Children will secretly cheer when, at the end of the story, Jennifer turns down the marriage offer of the vain Prince Alexander and finds herself drawn to the sorcerer instead. Hyman has chosen a lush, semi-Romantic style for her ten black-and-white illustrations, done with her usual flair for detail. Readers may decide that these lovely drawings are a bit too serious for the subject matter, but nonetheless, they are a definite visual asset. Karen P. Smith, Yonkers Board of Education, N.Y.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-This "Words Take Wing" Repertory Company production of Vivian Vande Velde's humorous tongue-in- cheek fantasy (Crown, 1985) has mixed success. Listeners will enjoy the story of Jennifer, an impoverished princess who enters a forbidden enchanted forest with a handsome, self-centered prince who consistently makes bad decisions, acts upon them, and then blames others for the consequences. Jennifer is forced to seek help on her own when the prince falls under an enchantment. She meets a young sorcerer who, despite his limited powers, helps her outwit and overcome the various creatures and impediments to breaking the spell. The predominantly word-for-word (only some "he said, she said's" are omitted) reading of the story is adequate. Velde is the narrator, and while most of her reading is good, her marked accent with a flat "a" seems too down-to-earth and ill-suited to the playful fairy tale setting of the story. In addition, her pacing sometimes does not flow smoothly; she pauses between phrases and words that do not require pauses. The actors who read the dialogue play their parts well, but listeners are always aware that they are acting and some may never be drawn totally into the story. The dramatization of the dialogue is almost distracting as it contrasts with the undramatic narration. Audio quality is good throughout. Despite its minor flaws, children will enjoy this production. With its humorous reversal of traditional fairy tale roles, it will provide good entertainment for group or individual listening.-Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152012007
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/1/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint Edition
  • Pages: 190
  • Sales rank: 703,713
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Vivian Vande Velde has written many books for teen and middle grade readers, including Heir Apparent , User Unfriendly , All Hallow's Eve: 13 Stories, Three Good Deeds, Now You See It ..., and the Edgar Award–winning Never Trust a Dead Man. She lives in Rochester, New York. Visit her website at www.vivianvandevelde.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2003

    not that great

    I didn't find this book very good. The plot was fine, but the adventure is weak compared to Vivian Vande Velde's other books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2002

    Fantasy Drop

    I expected more of this book. I was hooked on it, and it was a good fantasy read, but I have read better. GOOD BOOK!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2002

    GREAT BOOK!

    I LOVED this book! Sometimes they have fairy tales where the princess is exeptionally smart or exeptionally beautiful...or even exeptionally stupid and ugly but with a kind heart. THIS princess isn't ANY of those. In fact, she's quite ordiary! And the ending is really sweet...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2000

    Charming and well-written; a treat!

    This is a marvelous story. Vivian Vande Velde created an ordinary princess and places her in a situation far from normal. All of the characters are well developed for a short book, and a lot of fun. Giants, dragons, witches, and magic mirrors are just some of the things included in this great book. I recommend it to lovers of the fantasy genre, and also to anyone who thought fairy tales would end differently in 'real life.' Enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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