cover image Diary of a Fairy Godmother

Diary of a Fairy Godmother

Esme Raji Codell, , illus. by Drazen Kozjan. . Hyperion, $14.99 (170pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0965-3

Codell (Sahara Special ) concocts some playful twists to familiar fairytales and conventional morality in this uneven story about a misfit witch. Hunky Dory, witch in training, is at the top of her class in charm school. Her mother has high hopes of her becoming "the wickedest witch wherever the four winds blow." But Hunky, who narrates, secretly aspires to be a fairy godmother; and her Auntie refers to "F.G.s" as "vapid little underachievers." The first time the heroine adjusts a curse (her Auntie's), changing Sleeping Beauty's death sentence into a 100-year snooze, Hunky detects a wonderful, strange sensation: "It was a warm feeling, but it wasn't a sick feeling. It was spreading, though, from my feet and legs and into my hands and up my neck." From then on she's hooked on doing good deeds even though it means getting expelled from school and being disowned by her mother. Young readers may well be tickled by Hunky's encounters with Rumplestiltskin (on whom she has a crush), Goldilocks (whom Hunky transforms into Glinda, the Good Witch of the North) and Cinderella (who is reluctant to marry a prince who is "all hands and sugar talk"). The author's message about good and evil being almost the same thing, however, comes across as somewhat convoluted and perhaps too heavy-handed for this lighthearted tale. Codell more successfully conveys the idea that people rarely wish for what they truly desire. Ages 7-11. (June)