Q: What do you need to become a great fairy godmother?
d) all of the above
Fairy-godmother-in-training Isabelle doesn't know what gusto is, but she's pretty sure she has what it takes to pass fairy godmother training with flying colors.
But then Isabelle is assigned a practice princess who is not a princess at all. Nora is just a normal girl -- a normal girl who doesn't believe in fairy godmothers, or wishes come true, or happily ever afters.
Isabelle has to change Nora's mind about magic and grant a wish for her. If she can't, Isabelle will flunk training and never become a great fairy godmother!
Sarah holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives with her family in Evanston, Illinois. Find out more at www.saraharonson.com.
04/01/2017School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Isabelle is a fairy godmother in training. Her Grandmomma is the current president of the Fairy Godmother Alliance, and her sister is the fourth-best fairy godmother in the land. Given Isabelle's familial background, one would think she'd be a natural, but she would much rather play and daydream than study rule books or practice with her wand. Despite her questionable academic prowess, she is soon assigned a "practice princess" for six weeks with the objective of delivering a "happily ever after" to said girl. Isabelle is dismayed when she realizes she has been given an ordinary little girl (a "normal") to work with, and her worst fears about failing seem destined to come true. This is the first installment in the series, and, unfortunately, it never finds its rhythm. The narrative is disjointed, and the plot detours involving Isabelle's mother (a fairy godmother banished years ago) are confusing rather than intriguing. This novel might have worked better for a younger audience, considering the subject matter, but its length, along with the vocabulary, puts it squarely in the tween section. VERDICT An optional title at best.—Amy Nolan, St. Joseph Public Library, MI
Isabelle's starting the first level of Fairy Godmother Training, and things don't look good. Her sister's a prodigy, and her Grandmomma wrote the rule book on proper fairy-godmother practice—literally—but Isabelle's more like her scandalous mother, long-banished and the reason for the rules. Well-meaning and enthusiastic, Isabelle struggles with following instructions and studying. If she fails, she'll have to go to the Fairy Godmother Home for Normal Girls and learn nonmagical work in a sparkle-and-wand-free environment. She's assigned a practice princess, Nora Silverstein: not actually a princess but a regular girl. Isabelle has six weeks to create Nora's happily-ever-after, but Nora's a serious, practical girl, the kind who wishes for impossible-to-grant things like world peace. In spending time with Nora in hopes of discerning a grantable wish, Isabelle strikes a friendship with her—which in itself grants Nora's wish for a friend. But the happy ending—Isabelle progresses in her training and learns that part of her trouble with reading fine print and rules stems from a need for glasses—is undermined by the revelation that the practice princesses will forget their fairy godmothers. Saving their friendship means breaking yet another rule (and setting up a sequel). Isabelle's a smart and likable protagonist, and the third-person narration, refreshingly, assumes readers just like her. Isabelle and Nora are both white, but other fairy godmothers and princesses come in all colors. Underneath the sparkle there's a solid story. (Fantasy. 6-9)