The Fourth Wish by Elizabeth Varaden
Children’s Chapter Book
Elizabeth Varadan is a retired teacher who lives in Sacramento with her husband and their loveable mutt, Cezar. Her story, "Golden Eggs and a Silvery Voice" appeared in the April, 2008 issue of Ladybug. Her adult stories have appeared in The Rockford Review, Word Riot, Art Times, Long Story Short, Flash Me Magazine, Epiphany, Melic Review, Whim's Place, Laughter Loaf, C-Oasis, and Banyon Review. She is currently working on a historical juvenile that involves a ghost and a time fantasy that involves the Olympic Games.
The Fourth Wish is a tale woven with a combination of magic, family and fun.
Melanie, along with her brother Cory, sister Erin and their neighbor Arthur, decide to go to a magic show where The Great Mondo was going to perform his latest tricks. On the way to the show, the children run into someone unexpected, a Mrs. Seraphina. She was a little old lady who was crossing the street when her grocery bag broke. The children help her and that’s where their problems begin.
For helping her, Mrs. Seraphina gives each child a wish in a box, but they must each agree on the wish. The first wish was given to Cory who wished that The Great Mondo could do real tricks. After the wish was made, Mrs. Seraphina abruptly disappears and the children are left to wonder. When they arrive at the magic show, all seems normal, until The Great Mondo can actually read minds, especially Cory’s. Then rabbits run all over the place out of Mondo’s hat, the owner of the establishment levitates above the crowd, many other weird things happen. The children realize that their wish had come true. Who was this Mrs. Seraphina? They didn’t know, but what they did know was that she had some unspeakable power.
As the story continues realizations about her begin to unfold, yet she is also left more into mystery. Melanie makes her wish, to return everything back to the way it was. In her heart she means that more than just one way. Melanie’s parents were divorced and her father rarely talked to them anymore. Her own life needed fixing, there was no doubt, but she decided to fix Mondo’s life instead. However, her wish changed Mondo’s life back to what it was before his big magic show break—he was a taxi driver in a job he didn’t like. That made for more new problems and feelings. Erin’s wish was next, but being the youngest in the group, she enjoyed food, so she wished for a Ka-Billion Crullers (which are like donuts), down at Daisy Donuts. Though her wish caused these crullers to just about fill up the restaurant, it also gave them some much needed publicity.
Now it was Arthur’s turn to make a wish, but what will that wish be? Mondo’s life needing fixing, but so did the groups in different ways. Was this going to be the ending that Mrs. Seraphina was secretly going for? And what lessons will the children learn?
Children from the ages of 9-12 are going to enjoy this 210 page chapter book. It is entertaining and hard to put down. The reader will be consumed in finding out what each child’s wish is going to be and why they make it. Children are sometimes so consumed in their own lives that they don’t see the bigger scheme of things. Children will be lured in by the mysteriousness of Mrs. Seraphina and her intentions, and wonder if they will ever see her again. The story has a moral, of course, and the children realize that things are meant to work out the way they are supposed to, and sometimes it’s for the better, even though at the time, it may not seem that way. Many problems will be solved and it all started with just one wish.