The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is the first in a planned series by GLEE actor, Chris Colfer. This book is the first novel he wrote/published. The idea behind the novel is cute and it has great potential for growth and expansion. I do hope that as his experience with writing increases, Colfer’s style develops in complexity. As I was reading, I felt that he had all these ideas to get on paper, so the development of plot points suffered a bit. In all honesty, this first book could have been divided into multiple volumes to give him time to develop each plot point and work on his descriptive writing skills.
All that being said, this is a relatively engaging read that I think many skilled elementary school age readers will enjoy. The main characters are brother and sister twins that inadvertently find themselves trapped in the Land of Stories where all of our fairy tales originated. They encounter all of the heroes and villains of our story history and find out new details and back stories to tie seemingly unrelated characters together.
The novel ends with a wide opening for a follow up-or two-or three. I think that as his writing skills grow (and his attachment to a thesaurus develops) the stories that Colfe spins could become truly delightful. This novel would be a great starting point for those kids that enjoy reading, but are intimidated by larger works. The book itself is longer than those of Narnia and the like, but I think the writing style would be easier to access for kids that aren’t quite ready to read Narnia-level work on their own yet. The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell would be a fun and easy read-aloud with kids-both at home or for an elementary school classroom.