From Snow White and the Candy Apple, published by Magic Wagon, 2009. Excerpted with permission. Available through Magic Wagon, a division of the ABDO Group (www.abdopublishing.com) or your educational wholesaler.
Fiction chapter book for grades 2–5
“Mirror, mirror in my hand,” the Queen repeated. She spoke to one of those mirrors that comes inside a makeup case. “Who’s the most glamorous in the land?”
Now the mirror spoke. It sang out in a high, squeaky voice:
The sight of you makes traffic stop,
but that Snow White—
well, she’s tops!”
“Aaaaaaaaargh!” the Queen screamed. She smashed the mirror against the floor.
Then she went into a rage. Slam! Crash! Bang! Frantically, she rifled through the shelves of the cupboards, the fridge, and the freezer. She pulled out bottles of soy sauce, vinegar, mustard, ketchup, and whipped cream. She grabbed jars of mayonnaise, marshmallow fluff, and honey. She gathered up cans of lima beans and peaches, boxes of mashed potato flakes, and wet bags of fish sticks and tater tots.
With this teetering stack of goods, the Queen went to work. She tore. She smashed. She uncorked and uncapped. She sniffed some packages and threw them crashing against the walls. Others made her stop and laugh an evil “heh-heh-heh.” These she gingerly shook and poured into a large soup pot on the stove.
“Oh vile goo,
Oh wicked mush,
simmer and stew,
ooze and gush . . .”
Fiona and Frieda felt like they were trapped in a horror movie. For they knew exactly what was happening, and it was all happening so fast. There on the shiny metal counter stood a ripe, red apple. The Queen was preparing the poison apple to knock out Snow White!
“A plan, a plan,” Fiona whispered.
“Think, think,” Frieda said to herself.
“What if we steal the apple?” Fiona thought out loud. But even as she said it, she realized the problem. The Queen could easily grab another one from the bins of apples in the cafeteria.
“Let’s rush up to the Queen and throw the brew in her face!” But even as she thought out this next idea (and watched Frieda’s lips start quivering) Fiona dropped it. She knew the fairy tale far too well to risk such a foolish move. The Queen’s magic powers were known throughout the land. Even the huntsman had been too afraid to stand up to her.
“We could go and try to warn Snow White,” Frieda offered.
“Also too risky,” Fiona said.
Frieda realized her friend was right. By now, Snow White could be anywhere—the media center, the music room, the art room, the gym, the teacher’s lounge. Would they find her in time?
“Plus, Snow White isn’t exactly good at listening to warnings,” Frieda added. After all, in the fairy tale, the princess lets the witch into the cottage, even after the dwarfs tell her not to let anyone in. So why would Snow White listen to a third grader?
Just then, a moldy, sour smell wafted over the best friends. Frieda gagged. Fiona covered her mouth. The Queen continued,
“Oh sour soup,
on you relies
my evil scheme.
Poison Snow White.
Dash her dreams . . .”
A plan. Think. A plan. Think. . . .
“Oh brew of ruin,
Oh stew of spoil . . .”
Fiona grabbed her friend. “Ruin!” she said.
Even Frieda broke into a grin. “Spoil!”
That was it! The girls would spoil the Queen’s magic brew! But how?
Frieda stopped for a minute to observe the scene. She scanned the floor, where all the ingredients the Queen had rejected were strewn and spilled. “Fiona, did you notice–,” Frieda began.
Fiona followed her friend’s eyes. She looked at the exploded can of whipped cream, the globs of marshmallow fluff, the dripping honey, and the spilled soda. “You’re right, Frieda! The Queen doesn’t want anything sweet in her brew!”
At that moment, both girls knew exactly what to do. They spun around. They scampered to the ice-cream sundae bar. Frieda scooped up a handful of crushed cookies. Fiona grabbed some pink sprinkles. They ran back to the service window. Then, they waited until the Queen turned her back.
“One, two, three—fling it!” Fiona said, and both girls flung as hard as they could.
Fiona’s sprinkles pitter-pattered into the glop. Frieda’s cookies plopped and sank. The brew gurgled and spit and even made a coughing sound.
“Who goes there?” the Queen said, spinning around. She prowled around the kitchen, looking behind doors and under counters. She even walked right up to the service window and looked out. But the girls were safely hidden, their heads completely covered by the counter.
The Queen peered into the brew. She sniffed it. By now, Fiona and Frieda’s secret ingredients had completely dissolved into the magic potion. “Hmph,” the Queen said. Then her long, jeweled fingers delicately grabbed the apple’s stem and dipped it in. With a satisfied “hmmm,” she held out the reddest, shiniest apple Fiona and Frieda had ever seen.
By now, Frieda was starting to relax. “It looks like a candy apple,” she whispered to her friend.
“It kind of is,” Fiona replied, giggling.
Frieda laughed a little as she watched the Queen try to disguise herself as the lunch lady. The Queen may have had magical powers, but she had no idea how to put on an apron.
“Crab apples!” she cursed as her head got stuck in one of the armholes. Finally, she figured out where all the holes went and she untied the string from around her neck.
The Queen must have been doing research on what normal people looked like, because then she covered her maroon lips with pink lipstick. She put on a pair of long feather earrings. Finally, she undid her peacock hairdo and brushed it with her long fingernails into a messy ponytail.
“Not bad,” Frieda said.
“Actually, kind of funky,” Fiona added.
The final result actually looked, well, cool and just weird enough to be sort of believable.
“Please work, please work,” Frieda muttered, and Fiona knew just what her friend was talking about. For now more than ever, Fiona and Frieda’s hopes rested on the altered potion.
Evil queens probably always keep spare mirrors on them, because she pulled out another one and snapped it open. She looked at her reflection and turned her mouth into what the girls guessed was some sort of pleased expression.
“I’ll show you, mirror, mirror,” she purred.
That must have been the Queen’s idea of a joke. She broke into a squealy, hiccupy spasm, which the girls guessed was hysterical laughter.