The intent of the "Happily Ever After" series is to introduce young readers to the elements of fairy tales. Beginning with a definition of wicked stepmothers as "not nice people," Riggs explains that they are sometimes pretty and always scary, and they are not happy unless things go their way. Examples of wicked stepmothers include the witch from Snow White who uses trickery to achieve her purpose, and the woman in Cinderella who is cruel to her young stepdaughter. Readers are reassured that in all cases, good wins over evil and the wicked stepmother is usually punished. There is very little here which children will not have already gleaned on their own, either from reading fairy tales or watching animated films. The text is easy to read and the design of each page is attractive, but much of the information is repetitive and redundant. The illustrations rely heavily on stills from Disney movies, with the remainder coming from Dover Publications and other picture libraries. A "Write Your Own Fairy Tale" addendum is trite and will do little to encourage creativity. A glossary of five words and a "Read More" section with two Disney titles listed round out the book. The hefty price tag combined with the dearth of unique information make for a very weak endeavor. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Illustrations featuring classic reproductions and stills from famous movie adaptations (many of them Disney cartoons) make these short, bright volumes browser-friendly. Unfortunately, discussions of each featured fairy tale trope rely on only the most well-known tales, utilize flimsy definitions, or fail to describe some things at all. For example, Stepmothers does not explain what a stepmother is. The lack of captions for the images might leave readers who are not familiar with specific tales or films confused. In addition to the usual nonfiction elements, links to websites with games and activities are provided, and there is a Mad Libs-style exercise that allows kids to fill in blanks (though not in the books) to write their own fairy tales. Fine for fun, but don't depend on these for factual information.