Bibbidi Bobbidi Academy 1 & 2 by Kallie George & Lorena Alvarez Gomez

It’s time for fairy godmothers (and fathers), or at least ones in training, to take center stage!

In the first book of this charming series, Rory And The Magical Mix-Ups, Rory Spellington is super excited to attend the Bibbidi Bobbidi Academy, the boarding school for fairy godparents in training. Unfortunately, she’s a little behind on her spelling, having spent her childhood amidst regular children, as her fairy parents chose to live incognito among humans as booksellers instead of living with their magical brethren. As such, her peers have already been to preschools and summer camps that taught them basic spells, instead of the mundane stuff Rory knows.

Rory really wants to impress her new classmates and teachers but everything seems to go wrong almost upon arrival. She works hard and is slowly getting better, but still feels totally unprepared when it comes time for her first big magical assignment. Will her spellwork be up to the task of granting a child’s dearest wish? Better yet, will she discover hidden strengths in her quest to become a fairy godmother?

The second book, Mai And The Tricky Transformation, features Rory’s best friend Mai Magicwhisp, who is a maximalist after my own heart. Mai, however, is even more extra than I am, insisting on more more more when casting her magic spells. When it comes time for the second big assignment of her stay at Bibbidi Bobbidi Academy, she finds herself accidentally pairing up with snooty fellow fairy Tatia. Tatia always wants to be first and best, so the girls are originally in sync when it comes to completing their assignment. But when Mai’s thirst for more accidentally transforms Tatia into a unicorn, will the girls be able to set aside their differences and find a cure, before Tatia’s dream of being a fairy godmother is lost forever?

These were a terrific take on the Disney canon, tho I likely enjoyed the first book a smidge more than the second. Rory’s introduction to the Academy also set the scene for new readers, initiating us into the wonders of the setting. I thought the play on the word “spell” was inspired, and likely endearing to kids who have trouble with the subject as well. The second book was very cute but lacked that little bit of fish-out-of-water relatability for us non-magical readers that sets the first book apart.

Both books, however, enjoyed cleverly subverting tropes. Whether it was Mr Frog’s disgruntlement at meeting wizards to Ms Ebony’s disdain for curse-breakers, the books hilariously and gently poke fun at the fairy stories we already know.

Lorena Alvarez Garcia illustrates Kallie George’s words with plenty of verve and wit. Her artwork is both incredibly cute and stylish, and colorful if the covers are anything to go by. Alas, I was only sent black and white interiors, which I can only imagine are even more captivating in full color. I know that the blurry interiors of my advanced proofs didn’t hold a candle to the glorious art of the cover!

These are great books for young readers looking to expand their horizons from the standard fairy tales, while still enjoying that tried-and-true Disney magic. My very first beloved book was Disney’s Cinderella, and I can totally see these becoming the first favorite books of others. Bonus that they’re less about being a magical princess whom things happen to than a magical fairy who helps good things happen to others.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Academy 1 & 2 by Kallie George & Lorena Alvarez Gomez were published October 11 2022 by Disney-Hyperion and are available from all good booksellers, including

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