The Day I Fell into a Fairy Tale

S. & S./Aladdin. Apr. 2024. 240p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781665949736.
Gr 2-5–Lana, who is nine, is feeling left behind as her brother, Harrison, enters middle school and has more time for studying than for playing games. Her mother suggests a trip to the new supermarket in town to get a treat to cheer her up. About that supermarket—isn’t it strange how it just popped up overnight? And why does it seem like there’s only one employee (a strange little old man) doing all the jobs? In any case, Lana finds a treasure, a big book of fairy tales. The warning that the stories are scary just makes her want to read them even more. Eventually, with a little push from the strange old man, Lana falls into the fairy-tale world itself. There she encounters the sleeping beauty Briar Rose, guides princes of varying quality, and battles one evil fairy/witch. Miller deftly handles fairy-tale retellings in a new and interesting way, updating where necessary (ex. the prince wakes Briar Rose by a kiss on the hand, specifically mentioning consent as important), and provides a humorous tone, even when events get a bit scary. None of the characters are indicated as any particular race, though the illustrations do imply a lighter skin tone for all characters. A few of the Briticisms elements may not be as easily understood by American readers (i.e., the name of specific candies), but they don’t impact the understanding of the story.
VERDICT With humor, adventure, and heart, this is a strong purchase for all collections.

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