A Tale of Magic…

Ages: 8 - 12Publisher: Little, Brown and Company for Young Readers Narrator: Chris ColferAuthor: Chris Colfer

Not only is this a tale of magic, as the book’s title clearly states, it’s a tale of fairies, trolls, kings and judges. It’s also a story of kindness, of reading, of family, of appreciating and accepting all beings for who they are. Most of all, however, it’s the story of Brystal, a young girl who doesn’t fit in to an oppressive society. All she wants to do is read. What she winds up doing is changing her life and society for everyone in the kingdom.

From the start, the story is mesmerizing. A king wakes up to a cold and dark castle and is met by Madame Weatherberry and her two apprentices, Skylene and Tangerina, one of whom has a waterfall streaming out of her head and the other whose hair is a live buzzing beehive. The tale comes to life through vivid words and spirited — quite magical in itself — narration by author Chris Colfer.

The heroine of the story, Brystal Evergreen, 14, (Sounds like Katness Everdeen of Hunger Games fame, no?), will stop at nothing to read, which is forbidden for females in the Southern Kingdom. Eventually, she gets caught and sent away to the Bootstrap Correctional Facility, but soon gets released by Madame Weatherberry and taken away to learn to use her talents to their fullest potential. So many wonderful characters are part of the story, all intersecting with the delightful and brave Brystal, whose determination to do what is right and kind and just pervades all that she does, makes her a worthy role model for us all.


Ann Oldenburg ©2020 Parents’ Choice

Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and assistant director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.

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