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“With barely a thought for his safety—except for the obvious things, like how he really didn’t want to get trapped or hurt or kidnapped or eaten or squashed or bruised or anything horrible like that—Wolfie turned and ran to help his friends.” —The Magic Looking Glass
The Magic Looking Glass
Little Legends #4
by Tom Percival
Trolls steal a branch for the magical Story Tree, and Hansel and Gretel must find the branch and bring it back. As they begin their search, Hansel and Gretel meet a new friend, Wolfie. The three venture into the forest and find a fortress with a Magic Looking Glass inside. The Looking Glass promises to help them, but can the reflection be trusted? Can Wolfie and the twins save the day or will the Magic Looking Glass have the last laugh?
Wolfie, the grandson of Throat-Rip the Destroyer, doesn’t want to be like his father, who eats grandmothers whole. When Wolfie meets Hansel and Gretel, he welcomes the opportunity to do something good. Wolfie is a fun new character in the Little Legends series. Through his adventures, he realizes that no one can force him to do evil deeds.
Unlike the other books in the series, The Magic Looking Glass has an easy-to-follow plot. Most readers will be able to relate to Hansel and Gretel, who have a great sibling relationship until the Magic Looking Glass curses them. The siblings’ fighting makes them funny and relatable. Throughout the story, Wolfie has to come up with unique ways to keep the siblings apart. Unlike the big bad wolf, Wolfie proves that he has the ability to bring people together instead of eating them.
Black and white pictures help bring the characters and action to life. Some readers may find The Magic Looking Glass scary because the mirror wants to steal Hansel and Gretel’s bodies. Readers will enjoy the action-packed story, the humor, and the black-and-white pictures that help bring the characters and their actions to life. The Magic Looking Glass is a good choice for confident readers who want to see fairy tale characters in a new light.
- Hansel and Gretel talk about their father’s string of wives.
- When the Sacred Shiny Story-Snipping Shears were dropped, Jack tries to pick them up, but “he was barged out of the way by a large, blue creature with webbed fingers and brightly glowing eyes. . . It waved its hand, and a torrent of water flooded over Jack and Betsy, sending them skidding backwards over the ground.”
- When Wolfie tries to help Hansel and Gretel, the reflection in the Magic Looking Glass casts a spell, and a big hole opens up, “beneath Wolfie’s feet. He tried to step around it, but the hole opened faster and faster. There was no way he could avoid it. . . He tumbled into blackness.”
- As Wolfie and Gretel are trying to escape from trolls, “a swarm of imps poured out of the door at the top of the staircase and came running toward them, roaring and waving a ragtag collection of weapons.” When Hansel begins shooting arrows at Gretel, the imps stop.
- Wolfie breaks the Magic Looking Glass. “For a moment, the reflection stood in the middle of the hall, looking shocked, angry, and scared, then it too broke into a million of pieces, which blew away on a howling wind.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Several characters call the mayor names or talk badly about him. Someone says he’s a “horribly slimy man.” Someone else calls him “Sausage-Face Fitch.”
- Tale Town has a magical tree. “If you ran your finger along the branch, the story would happen inside your head.” The tree has a spell of protection, which “means that the only way to trim off a story is using the Sacred Shiny Story-Snipping Shears.”
- Spells are cast throughout the story. When the reflection in the Magic Looking Glass “clicked its finders,” Hansel and Gretel’s minds switched, “so that they were in the wrong body.”
- Hansel and Gretel meet a Magic Looking Glass that is able to talk. The looking glass is able to lock Hansel and Gretel in a room. When they try to leave, “their legs stiffened and slowed down, until they couldn’t move at all.”
- The reflection in the Magic Looking Glass wants to steal someone’s body. The reflections explain, “I can’t actually touch anything! I’m not really real! But with one of your bodies, and my troll friend’s help? Well, then I can be real—and it will be you rotting away in this mirror instead!”
- The reflection casts a spell on Hansel and Gretel. “The reflection pointed at the twins again, a glowing light snaking from its hands toward them. The light grew brighter until, with a brief, blinding flash, it fell away.” The curse made it so the two couldn’t do anything together.