It’s only been two years since Mattel launched Ever After High and its line of dolls, but, in that time, the franchise has exploded with a New York Times bestselling book series, a web series, and a film. Who wouldn’t want to follow the adventures of the sons and daughters of fairytales’ most beloved (and feared) royals and rebels?
At this enchanting boarding school, the next generation of Snow Whites, Prince Charmings, and Evil Queens are working toward their fates, even if some of them don’t exactly want to follow in their parents’ footsteps. The first trilogy kicks off with Shannon Hale’s The Storybook of Legends, in which the Evil Queen’s daughter, Raven Queen, ironically threatens a happily-never-after for many of her classmates, because evil-queening is just so not her style.
In the books that follow we meet a whole cast of hilarious and endearing characters, including the Mad Hatter’s daughter, Madeline, Apple White, and Daring Charming, Prince Charming’s heir, who has a gawking fan club follow him around. He leaps on tables in the schools ‘”castleteria” to save damsels in distress, and lathers himself in tanning lotion.
The school story collection by Suzanne Selfors takes us further into the students’ lives, when we meet roommates and outcasts, Lizzie Hearts and Duchess Swan, in Next Top Villian, and Ginger Breadhouse, most infamously known as the daughter of the woman who gobbled up Hansel and Gretel, in Kiss and Spell. A Semi-Charming Kind of Life hit bookshelves this summer, introducing us to Darling Charming, who is tired of being a damsel in distress.
In the latest Ever After High installment, a collection of pet stories entitled Once Upon a Pet, we get to meet the students’ pets. As you can imagine, they have just as much personality as their enchanting owners. The pets range from fire-breathing dragonflies, to well-mannered jackalopes, and pirouetting swans.
While it can’t be easy to have the weight of fairytale past on your teenage shoulders, the eight stories in this collection prove it might be even harder to deal with the antics of these high-maintenance, magical creatures.
Ginger Breadhouse’s candy fish comes alive during a potions accident and acts like a “royal pain” when he’s feeling a bit lonely. Shuffle the hedgehog, who is used to a sweeter life in Wonderland, eats a waffle throne and can’t handle the ensuing stomachache or sugar high. And Apple White’s snow fox innocently causes trouble looking for cold places to hole up (the ice cream cart?)
Of course, these pets also prove that they can be a prince or princess’s best friend. Pirouette the swan gives Duchess Swan bragging rights in the Feathered Friends Talent Show. And Drake the Dragonfly brings Hopper Croakington II closer to his crush, Briar Beauty. He certainly needs the help, since he turns from a prince to a frog every time he blushes.
Best of all, these stories are laugh out loud funny. You can’t help but crack up every time Daring Charming enters the scene, parading with his loyal fan club, who often faint from his dashing good looks. (His pet is a strutting peacock—no surprise there.) And there are puns a-plenty. When the students aren’t hexting on their mirror phones, everything is hexcellent, if not hextraordinary. At one point, a fairytale narrator is even interrupted by Maddie Hatter, who insists we hear the tale of her pet dormouse, Earl Gray. He’s tired of his threadbare clothes and looking for a more dapper style.
Anyone who has a pet knows that these lovable creatures can bring as much misadventure as they can companionship, and these stories bring to life all the heartwarming and exasperating parts of owning a pet.
If you haven’t yet jumped on the Ever After High bandwagon, start digging into the series that turns fairytales on their heads. Before long you’ll be crushing on confused royals and evil villains, talking in modern fairytale slang, and dreaming of your acceptance into Ever After High.