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Instead of Three Wishes: Magical Short Stories

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  896 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
A leprechaun is sighted in small–town New Hampshire. A city boy becomes a hero in prehistoric Sweden. An elf prince tries to reward a girl who wishes he'd just leave her alone. In these and other delightful stories, magical adventure appears in the most unexpected places!

Instead of Three Wishes is a captivating collection of witty and sparkling fantasy stories from the New
Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by Greenwillow Books (first published August 18th 1995)
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Rating details
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Feb 14, 2015 rated it liked it
finally got my mitts on this one, thanks to faith (you are my rock faith) and the event of my birthday.

it was good. not incredible, but good. an overwhelming sense of potential pervades the book, a potential which came to fruition in the thief but especially in the queen of attolia. a few of the stories were nearly in the very good range, especially the one from which the title was taken and the baker king. what i thought most interesting was that each story had, in itself, the potential to beco
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, short-story
I loved these stories.

I think they were each engaging and made me want to find out what happened, and had originality.
Allison Ruvidich
Mar 26, 2014 rated it liked it
A Plague of Leprechaun: 2 stars. Not a bad concept, but much, much too short for the reader to have any emotional reaction to the events beyond polite interest.

Leroy Roachbane: 2 stars. Virtually the same as the first. Clever concept, half-hearted execution.

The Factory: 2.5 stars, tentatively. Morally incorrect, but fascinating and kind of sweet at the same time.

Aunt Charlotte and the NGA Portraits: 3 stars. The story was fun and creative, but since the reader was hearing it second-hand, the int
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Picked this up because I'm a big fan of Turner's Attolia trilogy, and I was curious what her short form was like. I remembered only later that I hadn't particularly liked "The Baby in the Night Deposit Box," a story she published in a different anthology, but it's a good thing I recalled it after I made my clumsy, over-tall way into the children's section of the library to nab this. I did frown at the jacket description of "commonplace magic in everyday worlds" (surely others sympathize with my ...more
This is a collection of charming little stories. Nothing here is as good as her novels, but they're well told and offer some fresh perspectives on old tropes. I particularly liked the title story, in which an elf prince tries to reward a girl for helping him but can't come up with anything she really wants, and the last story, "The Baker King", about a kingdom which has misplaced their prince.
Aug 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Cute, fluffy stories, although I vastly prefer the Attolia books. My favorites were the sweet dystopian ghost story, the Attolia-esque Baker King one, and the one about the girl who refuses her 3-wish reward and the frustrated elf who has to figure out what to give her instead. Also, I found "The Nightmare" a little disturbing, but not in the way it was intended to be, I think.
Sep 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YA fans
I had read the title story in some collection, so I was a little worried that I'd already read this whole book and just forgotten to record it, but no, the others were all new, and all good. I definitely enjoyed Instead of Three Wishes again, about a young woman who finds traditional fairytale rewards vaguely embarassing in that teenaged way, and I really liked Leroy Roachbane and The Nightmare too, both of which are about little boys being boys but with very different takes. The Baker King was ...more
Jul 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star
A perfectly charming set of stories. I am positive I read it before (when? when?), so my enjoyment was a bit dimmed - expecting to be surprised by twists & endings, I kept thinking 'oh - right'. Entirely my fault, because I expect these to hold up to repeated reading.
Turner is such a good writer. This is her first published work, & it's less intricate, less polished than her books, but she still creates entire worlds & full characters with just a few lines. (If I'm reading the dedica
Nov 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Overall Rating: 3/5
Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series is, without a doubt, one of the best things I’ve ever read. By the middle of book three, The King of Attolia, I had already decided to add her to my list of favorite authors on goodreads.

However, the best thing about those books is, by far, the characters. Turner has a knack for great, multi-dimensional characters the way Brandon Sanderson has a knack for cool magic systems, or the way Patrick Rothfuss has a knack for pretty words
Seven stories of magical beings and happenings. First published in 1995, so maybe that's why it's less than wonderful, though pretty good.
stories are: A Plague of Leprechauns – Leroy Roachbane – Factory – Aunt Charlotte and the NGA Portraits – Instead of Three Wishes – The Nightmare – The Baker King.
I liked the Nightmare's way of dealing with bullies. You get what you ask for, even if it's not what you think you're asking for.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tales of Magic and Mischief.
Words and writers of words.
Some writers are full of technique.
Megan is a story-teller.
You get drawn in with each story.
I really enjoy the short story format.
Get in get out. Just a slice of life [not the whole life].
Kyrsten Newlon
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Enchanting stories! I love Megan Whalen Turner's storytelling voice and how it sweeps you along on a magical adventure every time you open one of her books. Another collection of short stories to amaze!
Ruth Anna
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Quirky short fairy tales - very fun!
Kristin Hoffpauer
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There's only one way I can describe these stories. Absolutely delightful!
Deep S
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Being a Big fan of the ATTOLIA word and whelan's stories, there is no surprise that I picked this book.
Magical world and stories always fascinate me.

This book is short and the stories short and very crisp.
I loved 2 stories in particular , INSTEAD OF THREE WISHES & THE BAKER KING.
Baker king being the best and closest to the attolia stories.

Other stories were good too.
Overall a Sweet and Nice experience reading the stories.

Devil D
Andrew Hicks
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Instead of Three Wishes , from 1995, is Megan Whalen Turner's debut. Turner is best known for 1996's The Thief , a YA fiction classic that begat a number of sequels and was itself a tightly plotted fantasy with mythology that didn't annoy me and a twist I didn't see coming. Eventually, I'll get to the Thief sequels, but in the meantime I was perfectly happy to read Instead of Three Wishes 's quick 130 pages over the course of an evening's free time.

This book is comprised of seven short stor
Esp. liked "Factory", "Instead of Three Wishes", "Aunt Charlotte and The NGA Portraits", and "The Baker King."

"A Plague of Leprechaun"

2 stars. Nothing that stood out.

"Leroy Roachbane"

2 stars. My least favorite. Much too odd.


3 stars.

This was, by far, the one that evoked the most emotion from me. Impossible and sad as it is, it was an excellent short story.
One paltry summery coming up:

John, a construction worker, is placed on crane duty at a site. Days are dull until Edwina, a ghost murd
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jolly-good
A Plague of Leprechaun: I liked it. Mag is a character after my own heart, and Roger wasn't too bad either. I love MWT's writing to abstraction.

Leroy Roachbane: Hmm. I have a healthy hate of roaches (thanks, Ecuador!) and really wish it had been something else: spiders, flies, elephants. But the whole 'Roachbane' part was quite funny. Also, I couldn't get over the fact that it's spelled Leroy instead of LeRoy, like my dad's name is. I kept wanting to correct something that wasn't a typo. I felt
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: advisory-shelf
Instead of Three Wishes: Magical Short Stories
by Megan Whalen Turner
160pp USA
Eos 5.99
ISBN 9780060842314

A annoying elf prince trying so hard to get a unwilling girl a gift.A leprechaun sighting all you need to know. Leroy and the roaches giant and small.A factory worker and a ghost girl having a fateful meeting.Olga the mysterious and the NGA painting.Nightmares for those who are not careful what they wish for.A prince who returns not to be king but someone else.

The elf prince, his mother, and un
Andrea Wall
Aug 06, 2012 rated it liked it
When I read this book I kept imagining me reading it to my future children. I do not know why.

These are are cute/great fantasy stories. For the most part. Unfortunately there were some not-so-great ones too. The first one and Instead of Three Wishes were predictable and didn't really interest me. It was worrisome when I started this book. It reminded me of a sophisticated child writing, not the brillant-it-makes-me-feel-stupid style of writing that I joined to Turner in my head.

I was worried. B
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
In my extended, continuing search to read every word written by Megan Whalen Turner, I've been led here: one of her first published works (and she doesn't have many).

I read a few of the short stories and decided Ellie would like them so much we're starting over but 'reading aloud' this time. Last night Ellie informed me that 'it's boring'. So I just finished it myself.

This is a collection of short stories that would probably fit a 4th grader better. I really liked them. MWT con put so much com
Kate Brown
Not a great, but not a terrible collection of magical/fantasy short stories. This book is part of the Schoolwide collection of mentor texts for the fiction unit in 7th grade. There are seven stories in the collection including; "A Plague of the Leprechaun", Leroy Roachbane", " Factory", "Aunt Charlotte and the NGA Portraits", "Instead of Three Wishes", "The Nightmare", and "The Baker King". My favorites were "Factory" and "Aunt Charlotte and the "NGA Portaits". In "Factory" there is a man who mu ...more
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This was a delightful book of short stories. I read them in between classes at school, or when I got finished with my in class assignment. I also read a couple before I went to bed at night. It was very nice to have something short enough to squeeze in my, otherwise too busy for a novel schedule, but still long enough to be enjoyable. Here are my ratings on each of the short stories within. These ratings are based solely on my own personal taste and how much I enjoyed them. It could be drastical ...more
Jamie (ReadsInTrees) Dacyczyn
2016 Reading Challenge: A book of short stories.

I can't imagine that I haven't read this book before (since MWT is the author of my favorite series of all time), but none of the stories felt familiar. Well, now I have read it for sure.

I'm giving this one a 3.5. I don't particularly care for short stories because there just isn't enough to to get to know the characters that much, or to really dive into the worlds within the stories. Still, I found a few of these stories charming enough that I did
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-for-kids
Instead of Three Wishes is a collection of short stories that I would classify as bedtime tales. They're all well-written and fun, but none of them have any shocking twists or gripping plots that will keep you reading until the late hours of the night. Instead, they'll put a soft smile on your face and leave you ready to curl up for a good night's rest.

Though anyone could enjoy these tales, I'd recommend them as something good to read to an older child (think grade-school age) with the caveat th
Kate  K. F.
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The stories in this collection represent a wonderful introduction to Megan Whalen Turner and what's possible in a short story fantasy. They range from ones with a fairy tale feel like Instead of Three Wishes, where an elf prince tries to thank a young woman and ends up making a friend. One of the strongest stories is one about a boy who ends up in an earlier era where his knowledge of roach killing helps him. My favorite part of how Whalen Turner writes is the realism and honesty that goes throu ...more
Mary K
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I spent a good portion of my childhood reading fairy stories. Mother increased my collection each occasion day with a book of Grimm's or Japanese or Russian or African. Whatever she found.
A few years ago part of our family ladies' trip to Europe traced much of the fairy tale road through the towns and forests the Grimm's brothers travelled collecting tales.
More often these days I read fantasy or lengthy retelling of fairy tales. I wonder whether I'm feeling a push to grow up in the same way a
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Instead of Three Wishes is a collection of short stories by Megan Whelan Turner. On the cover is the simple quote "Delightful." and I am pleased to agree. These are simple stories, told simply and well. They leave plenty to the imagination while still bringing the reader from beginning to end without a single mis-step. I recommend them to anyone who wants to read short fairy tales with interesting endings that both meld with the modern world and can maintain timelessness. I will be giving this b ...more
Ghost Ryter
This book was excellent. Each of the seven short stories in this collection is a shrewd mix of the fantastic and the realistic. Elves! Leprechauns! Cockroaches! Selkies! Scones!

My favorites had to be The Nightmare, Leroy Roachbane
The Factory, and the title story, Instead of Three Wishes.
The last story, The Baker King, was a little confusing, but still very good.

One story does have suicide and ghosts in it (The Factory), but it was done really well. (Special steps had to be taken to keep the soul
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Megan Whalen Turner is the author of short stories and novels for children, teenagers and adults. She has won the LA Times Book Award for Young Adult LIterature, a Boston Globe/ Horn Book Honor and a Newbery Honor. She won the Mythopoeic Award and was shortlisted twice for the Andre Norton Award.
More about Megan Whalen Turner...
“...That he'd seen...two people, a young man and a woman, sitting on invisible furniture with their feet up, reading books and eating chocolates.” 15 likes
“I woke with a terrible headache and wobbled around 'till I fell out the window."
"You what?"
"Fell out the window. That one over there." She [Edwina] gestured to the curtain behind her. "I broke my back. My spine is all wobbly now, but it doesn't hurt.”
More quotes…