Another fairytale reimagining by Sarah McGuire (author of Valiant). This retelling is based on the Brothers Grimm tale, Six Swans. It has everything you want; an evil queen, life under enchantment, and a quest to break the spell. What makes McGuire’s books different is her graceful use of language and her thoughtfulness regarding how her female protagonists and their male counterparts interact.

I read so many Middle Grade books and so few have adventurous stories paired with respectful dialog when it comes to male and female characters. Many MG books are outdated before they hit the shelves. It’s surprising how many current popular authors still use lines like he cried like a girl or the opposite trend where an author says again and again how the protagonist has to rise above because they won’t let girls do whatever it is she’s doing. Most middle schoolers I know believe that gender has nothing to do with ability.

McGuire neither hits you over the head, nor does she pander to political correctness. She simply has a mastery of language and writes a beautiful story for all to read. She clearly understands and respects this age group.

Grade level 4-8

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