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Summary: Penelope and Priscilla may be twin sisters, but they have very different personalities. One is humble and diligent, the other is showy and has a healthy ego. Priscilla is so happy summer is here and that she and her twin sister Penelope have more time to learn about The Enchanted Book. Penelope, on the other hand, is more interested in shopping! Still, she knows her responsibilities and reluctantly practices her craft. As the summer continues, the girls learn that they are to protect Dunville from an evil that is nearby. Will Penelope's half-hearted effort be enough to save the town when they need her the most? This is the second book in the adventure series about twins who practice magic.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 13; read yourself: 10 to 13
Young Reader Reaction: The major themes in this book are unity, trust, deception, and reputation. The writer integrates contrasting themes into a scene to produce the effect of suspense and engage the reader in the same dilemma as the characters. For example in one instance, Penelope was uncertain about whether she should save the town by canceling her sleepover party or to ignore the prophesy of her grandmother and proceed with her party. Overall, the storyline develops too slowly, and it takes the reader two-thirds of the book to reach the conflict and the climax. A reader could easily lose interest. Even so, I rate this book an 8 out of 10 because it gets very intense and intriguing near the end.
Adult Reader Reaction: You'll want to have the background from book 1 before jumping into this book ... but only for the background. This second book is far more engaging for the reader. The series is growing into a page turner. The author has introduced some new characters whom you want to learn more about.
Pros: The story moves quickly, with just enough plot turns to keep you interested. Penelope and Priscilla, aside from their magical powers, are typical pre-teen girls, with ups and downs mortal teens will understand.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a story with several layers that your pre-teen will come back to.
Educational Themes: The story is such that you can extract the 'magic/fantasy' part and open discussions about friendships, family, priorities, life as a teenager, etc. The scenes/events surrounding Karny are particularly valuable.