The Wish List: A lighthearted middle-grade series about Sparkles and so much more

by | Jul 30, 2018

In any classic fairy tale the fairy godmother shows up, wand in hand, grants the main character’s wish and then — her job done — POOF! she disappears in a shower of sparkles.

In her lighthearted series, “The Wish List” (Scholastic), Sarah Aronson (no relation) has taken that trope and turned it on its ear, transporting the reader into the world of fairy godmother school.

Perhaps, like me, you have never wondered what it took to be a fairy godmother. It turns out it’s not all glamour and magic. There are rules to learn, books to read, and sparkles to study.

The main character, Isabelle, will resonate with those readers who are not terribly patient, detail oriented, or interested in following rules. It’s not that Isabelle wants to misbehave, she just wants to give her practice princess their much-deserved “Happily Ever After” ASAP.  In the first book, “Worst Fairy Godmother Ever,” Isabelle is in her first session of fairy godmother school. We meet her perfect older sister, Clotilda, who Isabelle alternately admires and resents and their grandmother, the head fairy godmother, who is very intimidating. But Isabelle truly wants to help the young girl who is her assignment. And in the end, Isabelle’s “kindness, determination and gusto” — qualities all outstanding fairy godmothers share —saves the day.

In the second book, “Keep Calm and Sparkle On,” Isabelle’s struggles with friendships and with a secret she is keeping that reflects very badly on her. (Did I mention she wasn’t interested in following rules?).

In the third book, “Halfway to Happily Ever After,” things heat up. Some fairy godmothers go on strike because of some unfair practices; there is even a little bit of science/sparkle chemistry mixed in; and Isabelle and her friends practice magic on boys with some unexpected consequences.

Throughout the series there is an intriguing mystery about Isabelle and Clotilde’s mother, who was banished from fairy godmother land. In each book there is a different version of what happened, but the main message stays the same: Isabelle misses her mom and wishes she were there. The fourth and final book, “Survival of the Sparkliest,” will be out soon. Presumably, in the end this mystery will be resolved and we’ll meet the mysterious, banished fairy godmother.

Isabelle is amusing, aggravating and endearing as she gets into one scrape after another, only to be helped by either her own grandmother, or Clotilda, or her friends. The reader enjoys being smarter than Isabelle and also cheering her on when she does succeed, in the end.

Book cover for The Wish List

Alexandra the Great book cover

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