Review Detail

You have to kiss a few frogs...
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
After Abby is plagued by horrible bully Brandon at school, she and Jonah decide to travel through the mirror again. Jonah has the fairy Maryrose's memories stuck in his head, and they make him itchy. They travel through the mirror with their dog, Prince, and Abby finds herself at the bottom of a well... with Prince Frederic, who has been turned into a frog! Despite getting no help from the bratty princess Cassandra, Abby and the prince manage to get out of the well, but don't have any luck turning Frederic back. Eventually, the group makes its way to Cassandra's palace, where a guard lets them spend the night in Cassandra's room, think they are her friend. She eventually manages to turn him back into a prince, and a lot of truths about both Cassandra and Frederic are revealed. These truths help Abby deal better with Brandon when she returns to her world, and also are helpful in clearing up Jonah's itchiness from Maryrose's memories.

Abby and Jonah have a delightful but realistic relationship; Jonah is a headstrong and impulsive seven-year-old, and Abby is a somewhat more prudent 10-year-old who feels that being able to travel into fairy tales is a tremendous responsibility. The fact that they feel guilty for disobeying their parents by going to the basement in the middle of the night is refreshing change from children who take great joy in being naughty!
Good Points
These books all address various different forms of the fairy tales, which is unusual. Abby mentions that there is a Disney version of The Frog Prince, and gives a brief description of that tale. This is helpful when readers may only be familiar with the Disney version. Abby uses her knowledge of the tales to try different treatments on Frederic-- she kisses him and throws him against a wall (as they did in the Grimms' version), but stops short of beheading him, which everyone agrees is a good idea!

While the treatment of bullying is a little heavy handed, it is nice to see Abby learn that sometimes people are mean because of things going on in their own lives. Brandon is mean to Abby because his family is moving. Frederic's motivation is a little less clear!

These attractive, short books are a quick, fun read. Tweens who enjoy E.D. Baker's fairy tale retellings or Buckley's Fairy Tale detectives will want to journey with Abby through the mirror again and again. They will get another opportunity to do so when book #9, Genie in a Bottle, is published on April 26th, 2016.
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