cover image Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends

Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends

Shannon Hale. Little, Brown, $14.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-40122-7

Following the publisher’s previous partnership with Mattel for the Monster High series, Newbery Honor author Hale (Princess Academy) helps kick off the Ever After High series, set at a boarding school for the children of classic fairy-tale heroes and villains; dolls based on the characters and other licensed products will be available. As the book opens, the second-year attendees of Ever After High are preparing for Legacy Day, when they will officially bind themselves to their parents’ stories. Thus, the stage is set for a showdown between choice and destiny. Bubbly Apple White is thrilled to assume the mantle of Snow White, but her roommate, Raven Queen, is apprehensive about the villainous future that awaits her. Fairy-tale puns run rampant (favorite musicians include N-Chant and Lil Swain), and in the story’s best running gag, Raven’s oddball best friend Maddie Hatter has hilarious metafictional exchanges with the narrator (“I’m really enjoying all your clever observations and helpful information”). Perhaps understandably for a doll-based franchise, outfits and accessories get frequent mentions, but Hale’s spot-on sense of humor keeps the story from feeling overly promotional. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)