Unlocking the Spell: A Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess

Unlocking the Spell: A Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess

4.7 48
by E. D. Baker

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the (enchanted) forest, E. D. Baker returns with a sequel to The Wide-Awake Princess that mixes her inimitable humor with a delightful cast of fairy tale characters.

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the (enchanted) forest, E. D. Baker returns with a sequel to The Wide-Awake Princess that mixes her inimitable humor with a delightful cast of fairy tale characters.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
This sequel to The Wide Awake Princess (Bloomsbury, 2010) takes place just one week after Gwendolyn (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty) has been awakened by a prince's kiss. Unfortunately, the Prince has been changed into a bear by an evil spell-casting dwarf. The king has instructed Annabelle (Gwennie's sister) and the handsome Prince Liam to accompany Belegard, the prince- turned-bear to search for the dwarf and break the enchantment. Annie has the ability to fend off magic, so she will protect her companions from any harm. Not to be left behind, Gwennie sneaks off to join in the quest, much to her sister's annoyance. The journey takes them through neighboring kingdoms, where they interact with many familiar fairy tale characters. As they wander in search of the Dark Forest, they are led to Snow White and the cottage of the seven dwarfs; while Annie has been using tricks of her own to thwart evil along the way, she saves her strongest skills to protect Snow White from her conniving stepmother. In return, Snow White reveals that there is an eighth dwarf and he is the one that Annie, Liam, and Belegard have been seeking. A dramatic showdown ensues and once again good triumphs over evil. There are a few glimmers of suspense and drama in what is otherwise a plodding tale. There is not enough action to call it a true adventure and the characters are one-dimensional. Annie does show some spunk but opportunity is missed to develop the relationship between the antagonistic sisters. Readers will enjoy coming upon Mother Hubbard, The Breman Town Musicians, Snow White and Rose Red, the Three Bears, and others along the way. There is enough comic interaction and the hint of budding romance to keep readers engaged. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Only a week has passed since Annie found the prince to break the curse affecting her sister, Gwendolyn (aka Sleeping Beauty,) in The Wide-Awake Princess (Bloomsbury, 2010). Unfortunately, said prince is himself enchanted and remains stuck in the form of a bear, and Gwennie desperately wants her sister's help changing her true love back to a human. Annie agrees, setting off with the bear prince and Liam, her princely companion from her first quest, to find the dwarf who cast the curse. Gwendolyn sneaks away and joins them, much to Annie's annoyance, and the four travel through the neighboring kingdoms in pursuit of the errant dwarf. As with the first title, readers will enjoy spotting the familiar fairy-tale characters Annie and company meet along the way. More self-assured after her success in breaking her sister's curse, she continues to be a take-charge princess who uses her wits and magic-neutralizing abilities to solve problems. Her character and the way various fairy tales are woven into the narrative are the strengths of the novel, though it's not without its flaws. There are missed opportunities to develop the relationship between Annie and Gwendolyn, and Annie and Liam's romance fizzles disappointingly. However, this will likely satisfy fans of the first book and appeal to readers who enjoy lighthearted retellings of fairy tales.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Annie has been home less than a week after finding a prince to wake up sister Gwennie, aka Sleeping Beauty (The Wide-Awake Princess, 2010), when her father demands she undertake another quest: seek the dwarf who turned Gwennie's beloved Prince Beldegard into a bear and convince him to undo the spell. Annie's conflicted response--gratitude that her newly awakened family no longer shuns her for her gift for repelling magic; resentment that they are so quick to send her away--is quickly sketched, especially in relation to Gwennie. Annie agrees to go after stipulating that Gwennie wait at home while she and her sweetheart Liam, led by Beldegard, make the trip. Surprisingly, Gwennie runs away from the castle to join their journey across many lands and through several fairy tales. As before, readers will delight in the twists the author makes to the familiar tales, seamlessly weaving them into the plot, from "Snow White and Rose Red" to "The Three Little Pigs" and more, but despite the often-comical interactions, there is not much action. The hunt eventually leads the foursome to Snow White's home with the dwarves (who knew an eighth dwarf had gone bad?). Nor does the stream of sometimes-petulant bickering provide insight into the characters, leaving the sisters' relationship unplumbed and making the romantic resolutions feel shallow. The hint of a future romance between Snow White and Maitland, Beldegard's formerly fratricidal brother, is particularly disturbing. Recommend only to those set on an undemanding jaunt through retold fairy tales. (Fantasy. 8-12)

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Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Wide-Awake Princess Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
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File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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