Review by Emily, basically a bibliophile.
One day this summer, I was looking through the children's section of a used book store when I saw INSTEAD OF THREE WISHES. I almost couldn't believe it - I was so excited that I told everyone that I met that day that I'd gotten it. Possibly I scared some people with my enthusiasm, because I love this book so, so much.
Of all of the stories that it contains, I think that I love the title story the most. But there is such a great variety in this anthology: there's a ghost story, a horror story, a time-traveling story and several that are simply indescribable. I think that my mom's favorite story is the tale of Leroy Roachbane, the intrepid explorer of ancient Sweden, who exterminates a plague of epic proportions. Then there's The Nightmare, which terrifying in its own unique way, because the Nightmare is passed on only to those who ask for it. It's hard to believe that such a small story could be so chilling, but it truly is one of the scariest things I've ever read. And of course, the story of the baker king, who is perhaps more clever than the minister Orvis really bargained for.
And Instead of Three Wishes. It is a hilariously urban fairy tale, in which the Fairy Queen's son, Mechemel, is stuck in an island of traffic, and a kind young girl called Selene helps him across the street. He offers her three wishes, grumpily, but she refuses them, perhaps scared by his scowl. Or rather, she tells him to send whatever he thinks she'd want, because she certainly can't think of three wishes on the spot like that. So he sends them along later - and she refuses them, politely. As she points out, the palace was lovely, but she wouldn't be able to pay the heating bill in the winter, and what would the neighbors think? Selene is eminently sensible. Frustrated, Mechemel turns to his mother for advice. And the end of the story . . . well, you'll have to read it to find out!
Market: Middle Grade Fantasy
Violence: Very little
Mature Themes: . . .