My Unfair Godmother

by Janette Rallison
ages: 10-14
First sentence: “Dear Professor Goldengill, Thank you for another opportunity to raise my semester grade with an extra credit project.”
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Review copy provided by the publisher

I read the first book in this series, My Fair Godmother, out loud to C about two years ago. In going back and looking at what I wrote, this jumped out at me: “I’m not sure how well this would stand up if I had read it by myself, but I really enjoyed reading it aloud.”

It stood out because I didn’t read this one out loud to C, and found that it worked just as well as a read as it did as a read-aloud.

My Unfair Godmother is the second book, and while it helps if you’ve read the first, it’s not necessary. The only returning people are Chrissy — the very lackadaisical, and somewhat incompetent fairy godmother, who has just picked up moonlighting as the tooth fairy since she can’t seem to get into the Fairy Godmother University — and her erstwhile (and somewhat grumpy) assistant Clover, the leprechaun. Everything else is new, though the premise plays out in much the same way.

Tansy Miller has been angry at her father since he and his mother divorced. He’s been too busy for her, what with a new family and moving to Arizona from New York and all. So, the fall that she’s sent to live with them — because her mom and younger sister are on tour with a Broadway touring company — she is not the happiest person around. Of course, that means she falls in with the wrong crowd, mostly to make her dad angry (it works), which culminates with her getting caught red-handed with a can of spray paint and thrown into jail.

The last thing she needs is a fairy godmother. And she really doesn’t get one; Chrissy’s only a fair godmother, and even though she grants Tansy three wishes, she doesn’t exactly deliver them the way Tansy thinks they should be delivered. After bring Robin Hood and the Merry Men forward to our time, Chrissy sends Tansy — and her father, mother, step-brother, and the police chief’s (cute) son — back to the Middle Ages, where they need to play out the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin.

Rallison puts a twist on the fairy tale by combining it with Robin Hood, and spins them both delightfully. Tansy is a interesting combination of anger and loneliness, a heroine who doesn’t want to save the day (or even herself). Underneath all the humor, adventure and, yes, romance, it’s really a story about family and loss: learning to forgive and accept the family you’ve got,even when they disappoint you. And learning to understand, accept and forgive yourself for the bad things that happen in life.

It’s fluff, sure, but it’s good, enjoyable fluff.

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