Sylvia Locke and the Three Bears

Tairy Fails Book 1

Children - Mythology/Fairy Tale
83 Pages
Reviewed on 03/04/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

I’m sure you’ve heard about fairy tales. But have you ever heard about tairy fails? Well, it’s something like a fairy tale; it’s even set in a fairy tale land. But a tairy fail is actually a fractured fairy tale that will have readers doubled over with laughter as they follow one very bad girl, Sylvia Locke, as she confronts something even more challenging than she bargained for. In David Horn’s Sylvia Locke and the Three Bears, readers are introduced to this child, who is mean to her loving grandparents, rude to everyone, and a bully to some of the rare magical creatures that inhabit Fairy Tale Land. She may have been abandoned by her parents, but that doesn’t give her the right to be so mean, now does it? And, when she breaks into the Bear family’s house (you know the story of the three bears, right?), Sylvia discovers a magical mirror (is it mirror, mirror on the wall, or mirror, mirror on the fall?). And so the adventure begins. Will Sylvia’s experiences change her for the better?

David Horn’s early chapter book, Sylvia Locke and the Three Bears, is the first book in the Tairy Fails series. The story begins from the Wizard of Flosz’s point of view as he attempts to write what is presumably a fairy tale, as it begins with the classic line, “Once upon a time.” The author effectively uses the Wizard to describe the unsettled and difficult situation next door where Sylvia lives with her grandparents. The Wizard sets the stage for what will follow, providing the character development of this mean child. Following the Wizard’s narrative, the author switches to Sylvia, writing the story from her point of view. The plot moves quickly and young readers will marvel at the comparison to popular fairy tales as Sylvia goes from one misdemeanor to another. The language is simple and spell-binding like a good fairy tale should be, even if it’s really a tairy fail. There are some black-and-white drawings throughout by Judit Tondora to add another dimension to the developing story. This is a gem of a magical story that will enchant young readers.

Nino Lobiladze

Sylvia Locke and the Three Bears by David Horn, the first book in a series, is a hilarious read for children from six years of age and up. Sylvia lives with her Gram-Gram and Gramps in the small village of Farmington in Fairytale Land. Her parents are explorers pursuing another adventure, and Sylvia doesn't know where they are now. Sylvia is a spoiled girl and a bully. Her favorite activity is yelling. She tries to avoid household chores at any cost. Gram-Gram is concerned that she cannot prepare Sylvia's favorite breakfast, Cookie Crunchies. Instead of getting a bowl of this cereal herself, Sylvia decides to find Cookie Crunchies another way. Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear live in a cozy, beautiful house nearby. Sylvia is sure that they have her favorite cereal. She breaks into their house through an open window. Many unpleasant surprises await this rude, spoiled girl there, including a magic mirror!

David Horn's Sylvia Locke and the Three Bears is an amusing yet worthwhile book that shares grains of wisdom with children. Sylvia narrates this story, and we see how her character develops. At first, Sylvia is a perfect example of how a young girl should not behave. She is lazy and selfish. Such an unusual main character creates intrigue immediately. Whimsically illustrated by the talented Judit Tondora, the story offers great adventures. David keeps us guessing what next twist of events awaits Sylvia in her hunt for Cookie Crunchies and how resourceful she is in overcoming another obstacle. "A lot of things in Fairytale Land want to eat you," mentions Sylvia. The author's subtle humor on the edge of irony makes the book appealing to adult readers as well. Overall, David's wonderful modern fairy tale will engage young readers and make their parents smile.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Sylvia Locke and the Three Bears (Tairy Fails Book 1) by David Horn is a wonderful fairy tale for children. Sylvia Locke lives in Fairy Tale Land. Her parents abandoned her to go off on their adventures, and Sylvia has become a mean, bullying girl. When her favorite breakfast cereal runs out, she decides to break into the house of a new family – the Bear family. There, after helping herself to everything she can, she finds a magic mirror that promises to tell her anything she wants to know if she feeds it her favorite cereal. What she learns stuns her, but could it change her from a mean, bad kid to someone everyone loves?

Sylvia Locke and the Three Bears (Tairy Fails Book 1) by David Horn is a wonderful start to a promising new series. A modern take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this is a hilarious tale that will have you doubled up laughing. David Horn’s vivid imagination shines through in this expertly written story that twists and turns its way to an ending that leaves things very much open for the second book. It is the perfect story of the pains of a growing teen, with characters based on those we all know and love. New (old) fairy tale characters are introduced along the way, and the style of writing helps you feel like you are there, in Fairy Land, living with all these amazing, colorful characters. This may have been written for kids, but I know quite a few adults who will love it, too. Can’t wait for the next book!