Into the Wild - Sarah Beth Durst
Julie lives a pretty normal life. She has a mother who loves her, a great best friend, and typical middle school issues. The only thing that makes her different is the fact that she is constantly surrounded by the stuff of fairy tales - literally. Her mother, Rapunzel (Zel) found a way to escape The Wild and keep it contained so the fairy tale characters can live a life outside of their “story.” The fairy tale inhabitants have enjoyed their freedom for 500 years without incident. Zel maintains connections with many of the other fairy tale characters. Julie has to deal with the frustration of eating with the obnoxiousness of Snow’s Seven, the embarrassment of Cindy’s flamboyant fashion style and driving abilities, and her talking cat, Boots. The most challenging part of being Zel’s daughter though, is the fact that Julie keeps what is left of The Wild under her bed. There, it doesn’t do much harm except for losing the occasional shoe or other item. Whatever is lost under her bed is transformed into a magical item that Zel and Julie keep locked in a hallway closet. They must be sure to never use one of these items. It would mean participating in a fairy tale which would give strength to The Wild.One night, Zel talks Julie’s grandmother into leaving the motel she owns and operates and come over for dinner. Her grandmother, the witch that put Rapunzel in the tower in the fairy tale, but has since realized the evil of her ways, left the motel and the guarding of The Wishing Well in the hands of The Three Bears. If anyone makes a wish in The Wishing Well, it could mean disaster. During dinner the unthinkable happens. Someone makes a wish to release The Wild. Zel and Julie’s grandmother rush to the scene and get pulled into The Wild and placed back in their “story.” It’s up to Julie, with the help of her best friend Gillian, to save her fairy tale family and get The Wild under control again.INTO THE WILD is a creative story that weaves many fairy tales together. It is fun catching all the references to even some of the lesser known tales. One great thing about the fairy tales highlighted in this book is the fact that they aren’t necessarily the Disneyfied version where everything ends happily-ever-after. These are more like the Grimm’s Fairy Tales where some have gruesome endings. INTO THE WILD is a great choice for anyone that enjoys a good fairy tale. It would be a great starting point for a creative writing assignment. Students could write their own version of a fractured fairy tale.