‘Whatever After: Sugar and Spice’ by Sarah Mlynowski adds to fractured fairy tale middle grade series


The “Whatever After” series by Sarah Mlynowski is one that middle grade readers, especially girls, love. And there’s a lot to love in these clever stories about Abby and her brother Jonah, who get sucked through a magic mirror into different fairy tales.

Each fairy tale story brings its own adventure, and each story has its own moral. In “Sugar and Spice,” the siblings and their dog Prince end up in the forest near the candy-coated cottage in Hansel and Gretel’s story. In a very different twist, Hansel and Gretel look almost exactly like Abby and Jonah. In fact, they enter the portal and go to Abby and Jonah’s house!

That leaves Abby and Jonah to outwit the witch, who shows up on schedule and locks them up. The twists are hilarious — the witch only eats healthy food and hates sweets. She only eats children to help her eyesight.

Abby and Jonah are better people after their adventure. And they learn a little more about Maryrose, the fairy in the mirror.

The first person narrative from Abby’s point of view works well especially when Mlynowski’s dialogue and writing style make it a ten-year-old perfect voice. This is the tenth book in the series, so for new fairy tale fans, there’s a lot of reading to catch up on.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by Scholastic Press for review purposes.

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