Review Detail

Kids Fiction 744
When you wish upon a star... or anything else!
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets is a young fairy in a very well-developed and complex fairy world. She is supposed to work as a Granter, but for a variety of reasons, not as many wishes are being granted lately. There are lots of protocols and procedures involving the assigning and granting of wishes, combined with a decrease in the general level of magic, attributing to this. When Ophelia finally gets an assignment, to provide a girl named Kasarah in Kettering, Ohio with a purple bike because hers was stolen. After careful preparations, Ophelia sets out, but runs into all manner of problems on her trip. To complicate matters, the coin on which Kasarah wished is very difficult to obtain, because a variety of people keep picking it up, and the rules clearly state that a wish cannot be granted without it. After running into even more problems, Ophelia meets a dog. She doesn't want to be licked or befriended, but the dog she names Sam thinks otherwise and ends up being very useful. After tracking the coin down to the home of Gabe and Anna, whose father is gone, Ophelia manages to get the coin, but not before the boy makes yet another wish on it. With the help of her friend Charlie, who leaves the fairy realm of Haven to look for her, Ophelia must decide what course of action is best... with or without the approval of her fairy supervisors!
Good Points
Sam makes this book for me. Anderson writes a dog voice that sounds almost exactly like my dog, Sylvie. (Yes, she "talks" to my daughters. In fact, she texts them frequently.) Like almost all Anderson titles, there is always one moment where I burst into tears; in this case it was this interchange between Ophelia and Sam: "Why are you following me?" "Because you are broken and lost and I licked you, so now we are friends." The detailed information about Haven, the wish granting process, fairy names, and other specifics (from uniforms to housing to procedures) are so complete that Ophelia and her world come to life brilliantly. The details about Sam and Gabe and Anna are very sweet, but I don't want to give too many of those away.

The world building of Haven and Ophelia's role within it is exquisitely done, but starting the book with Ophelia in the midst of her troubles in Kettering would have interested reluctant readers more quickly. Kasarah is the sort of character that middle grade readers love because she is rude and snarky, just like they like to imagine they could be!

I adore Anderson's work, and this is a good read alike for Gemeinhart's Good Dog in many ways, but also contains enough magical realism to delight fans of Whitesides' The Wishmakers, Kessler's Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins and would be a good next step for readers who enjoyed Mlynowski's Whatever After books or Kinsella's Fairy Mom and Me.
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