The Magic Mirror (Once Upon a Fairy Tale #1)

by Anna Staniszewski (Author) Macky Pamintuan (Illustrator)

The Magic Mirror (Once Upon a Fairy Tale #1)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Magic, friendship, and adventure are the perfect ingredients for a new twisted fairy tales Branches series from Anna Staniszewski!

The Enchanted Kingdom is in a heat wave until the Ice Princess uses her magic mirror to make winter come -- no wonder Kara and Zed are too hot. But the magic mirror is broken! And no one else wants to help the princess. Can Kara and Zed find out how to fix the mirror and bring back winter? Or will it be summer forever?

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Kirkus Reviews

A good-hearted good choice for budding fantasy fans. 

School Library Journal

Gr 1-3 Two best friends solve fairy-tale mysteries in this series debut. Kara and her best friend Zed are residents of the Enchanted Kingdom, which has been suffering through an unseasonable heat wave. A sleepover becomes an adventure when Zed, a royal messenger, learns that ice princess Aspen is unable to bring winter to the land because of a shattered magic mirror. Kara and Zed immediately journey to the Ice Palace, only to discover a melting castle and warring sisters divided by their differences and misunderstandings. It is up to Kara to figure out who broke the magic mirror and how to fix it to bring back the snow. Staniszewski creates a tense mystery akin to the “Encyclopedia Brown” series. The characters are adequately developed, but the standout is pet monkey Clyde, who is dragged back and forth between the battling sisters’ palaces. Pamintuan’s illustrations have an animated style that is engaging without overwhelming the text.VERDICT A series debut that may not break new ground but will engage readers with its fantastical mystery and honest depictions of relationships with family and friends. --Casey O’Leary, Mooresville Public Library, IN a

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Anna Staniszewski
Macky Pamintuan was born in the Philippines. He received his bachelor of fine arts in San Francisco, and he has illustrated numerous children's books. He has a smarty-pants young daughter who loves to read and go on imaginary adventureswith her furry pal and trusty sidekick, Winter. He now lives in Mexico with his family.
Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was a Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Anna lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and teaches at Simmons College. When she's not writing, Anna spends her time reading, eating chocolate, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. You can visit her at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Scholastic Inc.
Publication date
September 20, 2019
Once Upon a Fairy Tale
BISAC categories
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV045000 - Juvenile Fiction | Readers | Chapter Books
JUV012040 - Juvenile Fiction | Fairy Tales & Folklore | Adaptations
Library of Congress categories
Characters in literature
Fantasy fiction
Sibling rivalry
Magic mirrors

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