The Wishing World by Todd Fahnestock
In the Wishing World, dreams are real. You can transform into your own hero, find wild and whimsical friends, and wield power as great as your imagination. But Lorelei doesn’t know about any of that. All she knows is that a monster took her family.
It happened during a camping trip one year ago. Hiding inside the tent, she saw shadows, tentacles and a strange creature. By the time she got up the courage to crawl outside, the monster–and Lorelei’s mom, dad, and brother–were gone.
Lorelei is determined to find her family. When she accidentally breaks into the Wishing World, she discovers a way. It’s a land more wonderful than she could have imagined, a land of talking griffons, water princesses, and cities made of sand, where Lorelei is a Doolivanti–a wish-maker–who can write her dreams into existence.
There’s only one problem: the monster is a Doolivanti, too. What he wishes also comes true, and he’s determined to shove Lorelei out, keep her family, and make the whole Wishing World his. To save them, Lorelei must find the courage to face him, or her next wish may be her last.
Excerpt: The Tasting Tulip and the Mirror Man
A figure moved just beyond the giant white tulips, shaded by the thick trees, and I jumped to my feet. Sun flashed off something shiny, then the figure pulled back into the darkness.
“Did you see that?” I said, my heart thumping.
“Nay.” Ripple followed my gaze. “Twas a beast?”
“Something big. It might have had a sword or something metal.”
“Prithee, keep thy distance.”
I stepped forward, and the grasses giggled again. “Come out!” I said, but nothing moved. I went closer, nearing the first of the puffy orange sweater plants. I peered between the trunks, trying to spot the figure, but it was dark inside. Only a few paces into the forest, it was like the sun had gone out.
“I’m just going to-”
The orange sweater plant launched like a striking rattlesnake, wrapping around me. It was so fast I barely had time to turn. The orange “sleeves” were cool and soft, but strong. They yanked me deeper into the forest.
“Lady Lorelei!” Ripple started forward.
“No! Stay ba-”
The cup of a white tulip, towering over the patch of orange sweater plants, bent down and clapped its cup right on top of me. The sweater let go and the flower scooped me up. I sloshed around in thick water filled with things like coconuts. Above, the petals closed together almost completely, leaving an opening about the size of my head.
I clambered upright and jumped for it, grabbing the edges of the petals. They were firm, so I pulled up on them and poked my head out.
“Lady Lorelei! I am coming!” Ripple shouted, striding forward.
“No! Stay back. Don’t let them get you, too.”
“But thou art-”
“Just wait! There’s no point in both of us getting swallowed.”
“Thourt not hurt?”
“I’m okay. I mean, so far. There’s some kind of water in here.”
“Lady Lorelei, thourt the most intrepid maiden I’ve ever met.”
I couldn’t remember what intrepid meant. Dad had used it once. “I’m what? What am I?”
“Brave, my lady.”
“Oh, good. Well, thanks.” I looked around to find something that might-
Below, at the edge of the forest, a knight watched me. He wore armor so shiny, it looked like it was made out of mirrors. He was tall, his shoulders and arms exaggerated like a super-hero. Great spikes of mirrored metal poked up from his shoulder plates and out of his gauntlets. His face was only two mirrors angled to a point where his nose would have been. He sat upon a giant pug dog with reins in its stumpy mouth. The pug’s eyes were also mirrors, glinting in the bright light, and it seemed to be looking at nothing.
“Ripple! Watch out!” I shouted.
The knight stayed a moment longer, then wheeled the pug around and dove back into the dark forest.
“Ripple, did you-”
“Verily! A man of mirrors!”
“A what?” Ripple asked.
I craned my chin over the lip of the flower petal. “Ripple, you speak like Shakespeare-in-the-Park, but you don’t know what a knight is?”
“Do they swim?”
I laughed. After a moment, I let out a breath and dropped back down into the bowl created by the flower petals. My arms were starting to hurt. “I need to get out of here,” I shouted out to Ripple.
“Art thou in distress?”
“Um, no.” The coconut things knocked against my shoes and stuck. “Not yet.” I shook one off, and it splashed into the ankle-deep water, which was thicker now. I picked one up. It was brown and oval and looked like a seed. And it was sticky. I had to shake it to get it off my hand.
“There are seeds in here!”
The flower suddenly moved, and I fell against the side of the bowl.
“Lady Lorelei!” Ripple cried.
The water sloshed over me, and the seeds stuck to my arms and legs and chest and back. The petals undulated from the bottom of the bowl, squeezing upward. The flower tipped and spat me out.
I spun across the grass in an eddy of sludgy goop, and the grass giggled. A few seeds twisted off as I tumbled, but most of them stuck.
Ripple hurried to my side. “Art thou injured?”
I stood up, covered in seeds and goop. “Ripple, is this flower spit all over me? Did I just get barfed up by a flower?”
Ripple giggled, putting a delicate blue hand over her mouth. The grass giggled with her.
TODD FAHNESTOCK won the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age Award for one of his short stories, and is the author of the YA bestseller Fairmist as well as The Wishing World. Stories are his passion, but Todd’s greatest accomplishment is his quirky, fun-loving family. The Wishing World began as a series of bedtime stories for his children.