________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 25 . . . . March 10, 2017


Sugar and Spice. (Whatever After #10).

Sarah Mlynowski.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2016.
155 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-85106-0.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Aileen Wortley.

*** /4



A woman is standing in the doorway. She's about my mom's age, maybe a little younger, and has pretty blond hair in loose waves to her shoulders. Her eyes are blue and almost the same color as her dress, which has a white lace hem. She looks like she's selling something.

"Hello," she singsongs. "I smell children! Are there children in here?"

"Oh, um, hi," I say. We don't live here. We were just leaving."

"Oh, I know you don't live here," she says sweetly. I live here. You're in my house."

I take a step back.

Oh. No.

"Your house?" I ask weakly.

Prince barks, as if to say DANGER, DANGER!

This is bad. Really, really bad. If this is her house….then she's the witch!

We're in her house, and she's the witch!

Abby and Jonah, accompanied by their dog, Prince, tap on the magic mirror in their basement and are transported by Maryrose, its resident fairy, into a traditional fairytale. In this, the tenth story in the 'Whatever After' series, they find themselves in the tale of Hansel and Gretel. As usual, Abby tries to divert the storyline, this time in order to help Hansel and Gretel. She plans to alleviate their poverty by taking the witch's jewels without getting caught. Predictably, things go wrong when Hansel and Gretel decide they would rather visit Abby's world and escape through a portal to do so. Meantime Abby and Jonah are trapped with the witch.

      The plot is clever and imaginative. With readers 'in' on the original story and its outcome, they are quickly enticed into the complications of this twisted fairy tale. Adding to the tension, Abby and Jonah must solve the many problems that arise and get safely home by a deadline and before they are missed by their parents.

      The main characters are well-drawn, with more dimension than those in many series books, and, despite the insults they hurl at each other, the siblings obviously share a solid affection.

      Apart from the rather annoying breathy gushiness in some early parts of the narrative, Sugar and Spice is a fun, escapist fast read. The series is very popular and full of action, with a few subtle moral lessons thrown in for good measure. While the book is aimed at those aged 8-12, younger children will also enjoy it as a read-aloud.


Aileen Wortley, a retired librarian, lives in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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