A Series of Magical Events

As a school librarian, for years I have encouraged young chapter book fantasy readers to jump into a series by E.D. Baker. Released originally in 2002, the first book, The Frog Princess, kept me (an admittedly reluctant fantasy reader) entertained from first page to last. That book was followed up with many more, including Dragon’s Breath, Once Upon a Curse and many more, right up to the 2017 release, Return of the Frog Princess.

Today, I’m highlighting the prequel to The Frog Princess, The Salamander Spell. Grassina is the red-headed younger sister who lacks all the graces of Chartreuse, her lovely, blond, perfect older sister. What’s more,  the oldest daughter inherit the magical abilities in the family. Grassina watches her sister for signs of  blossoming magic, but seeing none, hopes it will skip her sister and be bestowed upon her. The interest of her mother, Queen Oliviene, lies with Chartreuse and Grassina finds herself left out.

However, events cause changes when the queen is inadvertently cursed, turned into a hag and the kingdom placed in danger, Grassina finds herself on a mission to save her land.  Readers who have read other books in the series will find lots of characters better understood after connecting the dots provided in this prequel.

These fantasy tales are  full of magic, potions, spells, quests, and, to be honest,some romance. The engrossing fantasy world that Baker creates, combined with witty characters and humor, will inspire readers to collect each and every gem in the series.

Written by E.D. Baker

Copyright 2002-2018

Accelerated Reader Levels: range approximately 4.8-5.3

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October is Meant for Magic (chapter books, that is!)

As soon as the first few leaves spiral down from the trees, pumpkins appear on porches and costumes arrive in stores,  I start to get a hankering for chapter books in the fantasy realm. The one I recently scouted, Upside Down Magic, combines the struggles of a girl, Nory, with starting school and fitting in. So what’s magical? Pretty much everything. Nory’s father can make things invisible, her sister can direct the actions of animals and her brother can conjure fire. Nory has powers, too. Problem is, as a Fluxer, she should be able to transform herself into an animal at will. Sadly, those abilities seem to short circuit more often than not and Nory ends up changing into two animals at once. This off-kilter magic lands Nory in the Dunwiddle Magic School, specifically, the Upside-down Magic Class. Nory, finding the class full of kids with oddball powers, only wants her magic and her life to be normal. Attempts to manage her situation result in engrossing adventures and Nory learning life lessons about herself and others.

The story, a collaboration of three expert authors, is wonderfully penned. The characters of varying cultures and the challenges of Nory and her classmates are artfully woven to make a story with wide appeal. Readers in grades 3-5 who love fantasy as well as those who fancy stories with strong-willed main characters will want to dive into this book like a dog into a pile of leaves. This book is the first in a series.

Written by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins

Accelerated Reader Level ranges from 3.7-4.2

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