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Falling In by Frances O'Roark Dowell
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Apr 13, 11

bookshelves: adventure-and-fantasy

Falling In By Frances O’Roark Dowell (2010)
Fantasy, 256 pages
Isabelle Bean was never a normal child and neither is this half fairytale. After being sent to the office again for something that was not her fault, eleven-year-old Isabelle turns a knob to a door that is supposed to lead her into the nurse’s closet but instead finds herself falling in true Alice in Wonderland fashion. She lands in a new world with five villages and learns that an evil witch has been hunting children from one village each season. While most children flee north to a camp that hides them away, Isabelle relishes the idea of meeting a true witch and heads south. However, what Isabelle finds is even a surprise to her on this magical journey. Along the way, she finds a new friend, meets her grandmother for the first time, and learns who she really is. Throughout the tale, a crafty and silly narrator shares the story but often takes alternating chapters to step out of the story and speak directly to the readers, pulling them into the action and building suspense. O’Roark’s narrator and story details add a touch of whimsy to this modern day fairytale, encouraging readers to imagine the unimaginable. All you have to do is turn that doorknob and believe “the unexpected lies beyond the door” (138). A great read for 8-12 year-olds who still cling to the lure of fairytales and magical places.

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