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A Hidden Magic

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,047 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Once upon a time there was a very nice but very plain princess named Jennifer, who, following proper fairy-tale protocol, fell for a very handsome but very conceited prince named Alexander. When Alexander offends a powerful witch, it falls to Jennifer to save him. In the course of doing so, she meets a wizard and soon wonders if she's such a proper fairy-tale princess afte ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published August 1st 1997 by Hmh Books for Young Readers (first published August 1st 1985)
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Community Reviews

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May 05, 2007 Gwennie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy readers
Shelves: kids
Good book, lousy book on tape. I started to listen to it, but the reader was I returned it to my friendly neighborhood library and got the book to read...o I didn't have to hear the other horrible reader. Basically, nice girl meets a pompous doofus of a prince, they get stuck in a magical realm, and she has to save him...'cuz he's a pompous doofus. Hijinks ensue. Really quick read, with just a little romance for our intrepid heroine with an awkward magician.
I was SO surprised when I found out that this was Velde's first novel. It's nothing like her others (which dabble in black magic and evil sorcery). This one is more of a light fairy tale. It's okay, but not really a suggested read.
I picked up this book partially because Trina Schart Hyman did the illustrations and I love her work. The story itself was pretty good but ended a little too quickly for me. This is meant to be a fairy tale, but I wanted just a hint more of what was to happen to the characters instead of a blanket "And they lived happily ever after" type ending. The humor kept the story light, which was nice, and I didn't even mind the cliches in the writing.
honestly mem
A Hidden Magic is a light, frothy read, flush with comic misadventure but rather low on everything else. The characters are cute, but poorly defined, existing mainly as broad parodies and send-ups of the genre's cliches: the prince is beautiful, but kind of a jerk; the princess is kind and well-mannered, but very plain; the sorceror is clever, but incompetent; the evil witch is as beautiful as she is cruel; etc., etc. And that's really all they are. They don't change, they don't learn anything, ...more
Feb 24, 2009 Tiffany rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a sweet enough fairy-tale about a princess and a prince who get lost in an enchanted forest. The arrogant prince ends up being enchanted himself, and the princess (rather than leaving him) sets out to help him. She meets a mediocre wizard about her age, who helps her past witches, giants, and dragons. The obstacles were enough to keep my boys (9 and 5) interested, but I probably couldn't get away with it if they were older because there was a love story that was a bit mushy at times.

Aug 18, 2009 Lauryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so I'm basing my 5-star review on my memory of reading this book when I was, I dunno...8 or 9 years old? But I LOVED it. I loved the plucky heroine who eventually wised up and fell for the nerdy wizard instead of the handsome jerkwad prince, and I loved that she was a princess, but y'know, only *technically*, and I STILL love Trina Schart Hyman, who just might be one of the best children's book illustrators who ever lived. Her drawings are so lush and delicate and bold, I would buy just ab ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 16, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mainly kids of elementary age
I simply LOVE Vivian Vande Velde's writing style, so I have made it one of my goal's (as I do with all my favorite authors) to read as many of her books as possible. I downloaded this one onto my Kindle and was happy to find that I could see the pictures that accompanied each chapter.

Her writing style for this book is obviously for the kids of elementary age and thus tries to keep things on the simple level, but encourages complexity and free thinking, challenging young minds to question and exp
Jan 07, 2011 Krysta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I was a little disappointed in this book. Overall it was just too shallow and cliche for me. I like short light fantasy stories usually - and have enjoyed some of Vivian Vande Velde's other books. It felt like a mash-up of several tired fairy tales picked up and set down in a very confined little world and then aimlessly pushed toward the conclusion. There were so many moments where the characters or situations could have been developed...but weren't - leaving me a little let down by the end, de ...more
I admit this is not a difficult read; about on the level of Prison to Praise (length-wise), for those of you who are familiar. But I wanted to keep my personal goal of completing at least two books per month, and it was clear when Phil's parents arrived this weekend, that I would not be finishing my Jerram Barrs book by Monday. So I found this jewel. It was a gift from N&R, and a book I have wanted to reread for years as I remember it so fondly from my youth. A twist on the traditional fairy ...more
Mar 21, 2011 Jorean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that started it all for me and introduced me to the world or reading for pleasure. Before this I was forced to read Goosebumps with an eggtimer next to me to make sure I met my daily quota. But not this book. My mom handed it to me and even read the first few pages with me and then walked off with a smil on her face because she knew she won the battle with me and reading.
I loved this book. It showed me an untraditional take on princesses and princes and happily ever after and i
Apr 10, 2011 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jennifer is a plain but friendly princess in a rather small kingdom with a somewhat run-down castle. She is out doing laundry when she encounters a handsome (and conceited) prince who asks her for directions. Despite how good-looking he is, the prince tends to irritate people. When he bothers an evil witch's magic mirror into casting a spell on him, Jennifer feels responsible and sets out to discover a way to break the spell. With the help of a sorcerer named Norman (whose age is indeterminate a ...more
An original & delightful parody of the classic fairy tale genre. Velde uses humorous contemporary dialogue to tell the story of the quite ordinary but spirited princess-heroine Jennifer, who finds herself in the position of saving the life of a spoiled prince & dealing w/ a most unconventional young sorcerer. However, despite a wicked witch, a magic mirror, a dark forest & a handsome prince, Velde's approach remains fresh & definitely amusing. Readers will secretly cheer when, at ...more
Ling Fang Ye
this is a romantic adventure story. The main character is Jennifer (princess), she got lost with Alexander who is prince from other place in the forest. And then he was unconscious,in order to save him, Jennifer embarked on a risky journey. In forest, there are many monsters, such as ugly giant, the terror of the witch, the beautiful witch... She got to know a man,Norman, which is helper in her journey. At last, she knows herself was not love Alexander, she love Norman. ...........Alexander woke ...more
Mild spoilers.

Succinct, cute and easy, A Hidden Magic is the perfect size. I liked it. I believe tween (or younger) fantasy lovers would probably enjoy this, since enough things happen to keep one’s attention. However written for the younger ages this is, my complaint is that a lot of it came across random or unrealistic. (Oh, yes, I did just call a children’s fantasy book unrealistic.) One expects the main characters to meet other (bordering on stereotypical) characters, of course, and they do
S.A. Hunter
This was actually a reread. I was looking at my bookshelves the other day and saw it. It was in my already read books group (as opposed to my unread books group) and picked it up because I couldn't remember a single thing about it, and the description didn't ring any bells. It wasn't until I was thirty plus pages in that I could definitively say I'd read this book before.

I've read other Vande Velde books and enjoyed them and have quite a few more on the TBR shelves, but this one was a little di
H Lynnea
2.5 stars out of 5.

A rather cute YA novella with a predictable ending. Not a bad book, but a forgettable one.

On the plus side, the protagonist Jennifer is fairly clever, and does seem willing to take control of her own destiny, which is a nice switch from mainstream. In the encounters with the giant and the dragon, she does get somewhat put into "damsel in distress" mode, though this makes sense in the context of the story. Moreover, in the end, she is no longer in need of rescuing. So, kudos th
“Appearances can be Deceiving”

This delightful spoof on traditional fairy tales is an immediate charmer—with unexpected tongue-in-cheek humor, continuous action and a gallery of roguish, Grimm characters. The modest princess-heroine tries to find a spell to rescue the sleeping handsome prince (not so charming when awake, alas) with an unexpected ally of a sorcerer transformed into an old man. Folklore students will find the staple menu of characters to provide Conflict: an old crone witch, a du
Mar 25, 2013 TrumanCoyote rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wacky little spoof of fairy tales--kind of like The Princess Bride movie. Also sort of Phantom Tollbooth-ish, though more straightforward and enjoyable. Ending perhaps a bit too tidy and easy--but all in all a fun mocking style throughout. Would be good to read to kids (if they're clever enough to get it).
Karen Brennan
This book was okay but not fantastic. A few too many cliches, and the plot was easily foreseen. I got it from the library sale, but not sure I'll be hanging on to it. Not sure if it has rereadability.
A good read, one of the books that takes its readers to another world, a magical world far from reality, gives them the opportunity to experience it with all the events as if they are living in a dream, and to take a break from life’s worries. It is also enjoyable because it is somewhat different than the typical fairytale stories, for instance, usually the ending of a fairytale is expected, but not this one, which makes it unique in a way.
Jul 21, 2014 Lindsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice change of pace to what I've been reading lately. Nice and short, nice and light. There's no flashy action or suspense and there doesn't need to be. Just a nice light hearted fairy tale. And the illustrations are great. Especially the cover. But I do feel like I've read this before... hmm.
Feb 21, 2014 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-bingo, kids, fantasy
Vivian Vande Velde is one of those authors, that while I've certainly outgrown the target demographic for her novels, I haven't outgrown the books themselves. They are fun, and cute and sweet fantasies that generally have a happy ending and a moral of some sort.

This book is no exception. I love the fantasy aspect, and just the fun of her books.
Rather sweet and innocent in a fairy tale sort of way, which is why I picked it up in the first place. It was more amusing than I expected. I would have liked there to have been a bit more to the ending, though.
Jul 04, 2016 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Princess Jennifer is a little plain but very nice. When she meets the handsome Prince Alexander she fancies herself in love and ends up in a bit of a pickle because of it. The prince has a few unpleasant flaws that get the pair in hot water with an evil witch, and Alexander gets hit hard with a sleeping spell. It's up to Jennifer to find a way to break the curse, even if it means cornering the witch herself.

Prince Alexander fascinates me. I'll call him my favorite character just because it's so
Nina Fonteneau-Fuentes
yeah I did not like this, I wish you could have different categories to rate. It was poorly written to the point I was rolling my eyes. I truly believe that everything you go through shapes you I don't mean bad childhood you become evil but your reactions how open minded you are and just how you express yourself will be different and her upbringing and her character put together makes no sense whatsoever.
Rachel Boling
This was a great children's book. The princess ends up in trouble, due to the annoying prince she finds, and has to try to save the day. I liked that it also taught girls that they don't have to fall for the pretty boy, that love should be about more than looks.
Saoirse Adams-Kushin
A fun story in the classic fairy tale tradition. Actually much less of a subversion of fairy tale tropes than I was expecting, more like a modernisation. An enjoyable read for Vande Velde's gift with narration; this is a book that begs to be read aloud. (Unfortunately, I read most of it on the subway, so that didn't happen.)
Sarah Crawford
Feb 04, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another delightful book by Vivian Velde.

Fairy tales usually have a dashing, charming Prince and a poor country girl who is absolutely taken with him.

Now consider that the Prince might be sort of handsome, but has an extremely annoying personality. Consider, further, that the wonderful country girl (who happens to be a Princess of a rather economically poor kingdom) isn't so taken with the Prince.

Of course, there's different meanings of “taken,” and in one case she is “taken” with him – s
Oct 20, 2016 BruceB rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it was a really awesom book with twists around every corner i never knew what to expect and that is what i think kept me into the amazing book
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Vivian Vande Velde (born 1951, currently residing in Rochester, New York) is an American author who writes books primarily aimed at young adults.

Her novels and short story collections usually have some element of horror or fantasy, but are primarily humorous. Her book Never Trust a Dead Man (1999) received the 2000 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel. She says that she really likes to write for
More about Vivian Vande Velde...

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