Review Detail

Kids Fiction 4285
A Sweet Fairy Tale Treat
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Abby is having a bad day-- she and her brother Jonah break a lamp playing duckball in the house, they have to eat asparagus at dinner, and there's no dessert because Abby has had a note sent home about her being disruptive in class. Going through the magic mirror sounds like a great way to get away from her problems, but when she and Jonah get through, they find that they are trapped in the story of Hansel and Gretel, in a land called Vegetopia. And evil witch owns all of the vegetable gardens, which are guarded closely by birds. Time is going more quickly in the fairy tale world than in their own world, and things are not working out. When they find a witch's gingerbread cottage with Hansel and Gretel, they know what might happen, and Hansel and Gretel go through the portal, leaving Abby and Jonah stranded. Abby convinces the witch that Jonah won't make a good stew because he's eaten too much junk food, and buys herself a little time. Eventually, the two manage to get back through the portal, only to discover that Hansel and Gretel have been impersonating them in order to take advantage of the much better way of life that Abby and Jonah have.
Good Points
This is the most moralistic tale in this series-- Abby and Jonah quickly realize how good their lives are compared to Hansel and Gretel, who have (after all) been abandoned in the woods by their father and step mother. They gain a greater appreciation for their parents' rules and consequences, and even the kale smoothies their mother makes, after seeing how hard Hansel and Gretel's lives are.

The story of the witch also has a funny twist about vegetables-- the witch is selling them at a very high cost that most of the people in Vegetopia can't afford, which makes all of the children appreciate them a little more. Of course, the candy on the gingerbread house is still very tasty-- what child hasn't imagined being stuck in this particular fairy tale so that he could eat all of the candy AND outwit the witch?

While Prince the dog and Maryrose the fairy don't have as big a role in this volume, Abby and Jonah certainly develop a little more as characters, and it's interesting for them to be shown learning something new about themselves. Readers of fractured fairy tales like E.D.Baker's or Daisy Meadows' titles will gobble up this latest installment of Whatever After. The next volume in this series is to be Abby in Wonderland a super special due out in September of 2017.
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