Ever After High: Once Upon a Time: A Story Collection by Shannon Hale

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Little Brown, 2014. ISBN 9780349132020
(Age: 10+) Recommended. This is a collection of 12 short stories that turn traditional fairy tale characters on their heads. At Ever After High, the students are beginning their Legacy Year, the time when they will sign the Storybook of Legends and pledge that they will repeat the stories that their parents have become famous for.
People who love fairy stories will be charmed with this collection that is both quirky and very funny. My favourites were the stories of Dexter and Darling Charming, Dexter Charming and the yellow-eyed changeling and Darling Charming and the razor eel. Their adventures and antics in the home of their father Prince Charming were very amusing, but also poignant as Darling wished she didn't have to pretend to be just a beautiful maiden, while Dexter often stands out in his family as he is not as brave or as daring as his brothers. Maddie Hatter, the daughter of the Madhatter, works in a tea shop with her father and her story is fascinating as well. There are also fun stories about Apple White, Lizzie Hearts, Raven Queen, Briar Beauty, Ashlynn Ella and Hunter Huntsman.
Underlying them all are themes of accepting yourself and your strengths and weaknesses, even if like Cedar Wood, you are made of wood; of standing up to bullies and of cherishing friendships.
These stories made me smile and feel good and could prove to be an interesting and challenging read for young girls especially.
Pat Pledger