The Wishing Well
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Category: Chapbooks for Tweens
Author: Kai Strand www.kaistrand.com
eBook ISBN: 9781616333034: 1616333030
Hardcover ISBN: 9781616333010: 1616333014
Paperback ISBN: 978616333027: 1616333022

Molly Minstrel is treated worse than Cinderella by her mom and sisters. When Molly meets the magical creature, Unwanted, she wishes her problems away. However, you must first understand what you need before knowing what to ask for. Molly will have to look within for the solution to her troubles.

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Book Excerpt:

Molly swept the pile of dust, crumbs, and dead flies onto the dustpan. She dropped the contents into the wastebasket. A cloud of dust tickled her nose, making her sneeze.

“Will you claim to be allergic to cleaning now?” Gert asked.

Molly jumped at the sound of her mother’s voice. “You scared me. I didn’t know you were there.”

“When you finish in here, be sure to go over the living room again. I can see footprints in the dust where the sun hits the floor. Sometimes I’m certain you are completely useless.” Gert studied her with a curled lip.

Molly nodded and busied herself, sweeping the already swept floor, hoping her mother didn’t notice the tears that filled her eyes. Molly’s sisters, Hannah and Eva bustled into the room. Hannah knocked into Molly when she passed but didn’t bother to apologize. She never did.

“Gert, have you talked to Molly about the ironing?” Hannah asked.

Molly hated that her sisters called their mother by her given name. A nickname at that! Mom didn’t mind. She seemed to think it indicated that the three of them were chums. “I did it!” Molly protested.

“But you did it poorly!” Hannah scolded. “You might not mind looking like a street urchin, but Eva and I have our reputations to uphold.” As was the way in the town of The Tales, Hannah launched into a story to underline her point:

“Girls, pretty, feminine, flashy. Attract boys, handsome, masculine, rugged. Girls marry boys with the most money. Boys marry girls with the most beauty.”

Molly rolled her eyes and turned her back to her family. That was all they ever thought about. Who would Eva marry? Who would Hannah marry? How could Mom make the best match for them? Meanwhile, Molly stayed home to keep house like some twisted version of Cinderella.

“Your time will come, Molly,” Gert said, as if this news would ease Molly’s worries. “But you still have some time before we have to worry about finding you a match.”

Molly spun around and stared at her mom with wide eyes. “A match? I’m eleven!”

“Exactly. We won’t have to start for a couple years yet. I’ve been keeping my eye on that Philip Confab though.” Mom squinted like she was studying him right there in the kitchen.

(Chapter 1 continues)

Reviews:

I liked the idea of recreating the magic of Cinderella. It is very innovative to have a theme on similar lines. It is disheartening to see children being treated badly and abused by the people with whom they stay. There are some lessons to be learnt too through the story. Molly's character is also portrayed with some depth and the valuable education she gives other children by her behavior is commendable...Apart from Molly, the characters of Riddle and UNWANTED are worth mentioning. The meanness of her mother and sisters is depicted very well. The book also speaks about helping, loving, and the victory of good over evil. Will Molly be granted the wish that she is looking for?-Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

"The cinderella type story is entertaining, but also has important life lessons. Kids will easily relate to the feelings of the children and the problems Molly faces. They’ll see that others’ life experiences shape the way they behave, but also see they can be helped to change for the good. The values of kindness, generosity, helping, and problem-solving are woven throughout the book along with the characters’ “word weavings.” I look forward to reading all of the books in this charming series. K.C. Snider’s cover art is lovely and puts you right in The Tales. You want to visit and you want to see more illustrations of life in this special place. Thank you, Kai Strand, for a perfectly delightful tale."
--Penelope Anne Cole