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Awards & Honors


  • American Bookseller Pick of the Lists

  • Bro-Dart Foundation Elementary School Library Collection

  • Child Study Association Book of the Year

  • National Council of Teachers of English Notable Trade Book in the Language Arts

  • The New York Public Library Children's Books 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing



"An original and delightful parody of the classic fairy tale genre."

—School Library Journal

"Vivian Vande Velde is a master of the unexpected."

—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A Hidden Magic

Original cover art by Trina Schart Hyman

Ages: 12 and up

Publisher: Originally published by Crown/paperback by Harcourt

Book Description:

Lost in a magic forest and needing to rescue an enchanted prince, Princess Jennifer seeks help from a kindly young sorcerer.


Where do you GET those ideas?


A Hidden Magic was the first book I wrote.  I knew that I wanted to write a fairy tale kind of story because I've always enjoyed fairy tales. 

When I was growing up, I loved the Disney movies Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.  (They're still among my favorites.)  But I always wondered why the princess in those stories was always perfect.  I mean, except for the color of their hair, you could use the same words to describe each of them:  beautiful, kind, always knew what to say, knew how to sing and dance, was a friend to the forest creatures, and then she got into some trouble and needed a brave and handsome prince to come along and rescue her.  (How come they never had a bad hair day?  Why didn't any of them wear glasses like I do?  And didn't they ever move their hands a lot while they were talking--the way I do--and knock over a glass of water onto the lap of somebody important?)  And the prince in those stories never had any personality: handsome and brave--that was all there was to them.  (Except for the style of the drawing, you wouldn't be able to tell which prince went with which princess.) 

So I decided I wanted to write a book where I would have a lot of the fairy tale conventions (princes and princesses, castles, magical creatures), but where the characters would be different from what people might normally expect.  That's why I have things like the magic mirror calling the prince a jerk.



Jennifer stood unable to move until the glassy whispers had faded. Even then, her legs felt weighted down and she was afraid to try walking.

"Alexander," she said softly, reaching out to him.

He remained sprawled motionless on the floor, his eyes closed.

"Is he dead?" Jennifer wondered out loud.

"So it seems," came a steady voice at her side, "but so it is not."

Jennifer spun around to face the mirror, ready to accuse, eager to demand explanations. The mirror was whole again. No smashed center, no jagged cracks--the mirror twinkled and shone in amusement.

"He's not dead?" Jennifer asked suspiciously.


"How can I wake him?"

"A kiss usually works."

Jennifer was surprised to find that she could walk after all. She knelt beside Alexander and softly kissed his cold lips.

Nothing happened.

"A kiss usually works," the mirror said, "but not always."

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