The Fairytale Fracas

Getting caught up in a good book can be dangerous!

Anika's book report isn't done, and her cousins offer to help. One slip and the whole book has become a complete mess. To make matters worse, some characters are trying to take over. Can the Shubin cousins prevent a Grimm outcome?
Published: 2012
Artwork: Jon Shubin
Characters: Nichol, Skyler, Olivia, Silas, Zahra, Georgie, Trinity, Anika, Kyra, Faith, Henry, Amara, Lily (mention)
Character Order on Cover: (upper left and moving clockwise) Georgie, Olivia, Kyra, Faith, Skyler, Silas, Lily, Anika, Henry, Zahra, Trinity, Amara, Nichol
Story Location: Not real; however, nearly all of the fairytale characters are out of published stories.


This book is by far the longest and took the longest to write.


The Fairytale Fracas on Amazon

First Chapter

The Unfinished Report

”Please?” Anika pleaded, and just in case she wasn’t getting her message across, she added, “PleasePleasePleasePleasePuuuullllleeeeezzz?

“No,” replied the ogre.

At least at that moment Anika felt that only an ogre would have dismissed her masterfully passionate plea.

That’s right, Anika thought to herself. Only an ogre… an ogre trained in the arts of torture… a torture ogre!… would demand she stay inside the dark house on such a beautiful summer day. Especially since all her cousins were over to play. Only a torture ogre, no doubt about it.

Anika began to wonder if she could say torture ogre ten times fast.

In her mind she began to repeat, “Torture ogre. Torture ogre. Tore choger, Chore toger…”

“Chore toger? What is a chore toger?” the torture ogre asked.

Ashamed she had accidently said it aloud Anika admitted, “I was trying to say torture ogre ten times fast.”

Mommy Rachel paused a moment to look at her daughter. “You know,” Mommy Rachel said practically, “if I get to be a torture ogre I want a really cool name, like Thurl Ravenscroft the Ridiculous… or Mould Aberystwyth the Awful… or Fred.”

Anika was confused. “Fred?”

“Yes,” said her mommy, “I always thought Fred sounded very sinister…Fred. A cool name for a werewolf.”

Anika had to laugh. She could never really be angry with her mommy for very long. “I can’t call you Fred.”

“Okay, how about we settle on Mommy?”

Anika nodded. She liked that.

“And since we are agreed I should be called Mommy, I think we can also agree that when I say you need to finish your report before you can play, you should say ‘Yes, Mommy’ and get your work done so you can go out to play.”

“Yes, Mommy,” Anika sighed.

Mommy Rachel returned to the kitchen to finish making a batch of frappuccinos for Mommy Erica and Mommy Kathy. Anika gathered her pencils, book, and paper and retreated downstairs wishing she had finished her book report last week like she was supposed to.

Anika spread her school supplies over the coffee table. It was depressing hearing the other kids on the other side of the sliding doors playing on the trampoline and running around the yard.

Anika opened her notebook to a blank page and began to write:

Fairytales From Around the World
Book Report by Anika Shubin

Letting out a huge breath, Anika picked up the book and flipped to the table of contents for inspiration on where to begin. Should she start with the Arabian Nights? The Chinese Brothers? Paul Bunyan? Snow White?

Suddenly the sliding door opened and Nichol, eldest of the cousins, popped her head in. “There you are,” she said.

It was an all-out cousins play day. Anika always got a kick out of rattling off all of the Shubin cousins’ names. There were her own brothers and sisters: Georgie, Trinity, herself, Kyra, Faith, and Henry. Then there were their cousins: Nichol, Skyler, Olivia, Silas, and Zahra. The youngest of the Shubin cousins were sisters Amara and Lily Hayes. But Lily was too young to be out playing with the rest of the Shubin cousins.

Instantly Nichol was pushed into the room by a swarm of younger girls: Olivia, Kyra, Zahra, Faith and Amara.

“Why are you in here?” asked Olivia.

“We want to have an adventure with our imagination capes,” exclaimed Zahra. She twirled to show off her new cape.

“I can’t” Anika mumbled.

“What do you mean you can’t?” asked Olivia.

Just then more heads popped into the room. It was Georgie, Trinity, Skyler, Silas, and Henry.

“What’s the hold up?” asked Georgie. “Are we going to play Zombies Invade the Zoo, or what?”

Zahra protested, “I don’t want to play that!”

“We were going to let you be the zombie elephant that stomps the evil kittens,” said Skyler.

“No!” wailed Zahra. “I don’t want to be a zombie elephant, and kittens are not evil.”

Henry came to Zahra’s defense. “That’s right. Zahra wants to be part of my python army that swallows the zombie elephants in one gulp.”

Henry opened his mouth and pretended to swallow an elephant.

“Ewwwww!” squealed Faith.

Nichol cut in. “Okay, hold on, before we decide anything about elephant-eating pythons…”

“Kitten-stomping elephants,” corrected Skyler.

“Right,” Nichol corrected herself. “Kitten-stomping-elephant-eating pythons… we need to figure out why Anika can’t come out to play.”

Trinity looked over the school books on the coffee table. She put her hands on her hips.

“Don’t tell me you forgot to do your book report,” she said.

Anika nodded and held up the book. “I read the book, but I never figured out what to write down.”

For a moment everyone was silent. This was a problem. Having adventures with their imagination capes was not as much fun if everyone wasn’t playing.

Olivia had an idea. “What if we help you write the report?”

“But there’s no zombie elephants in fairytales,” complained Silas.

Skyler picked up the book and said, “Sometimes you can get scarier things than zombies.”

“Like what?” asked Amara.

“Monsters,” said Georgie.

“Evil emperors,” said Trinity.

“Chickens,” said Nichol.

Amara was puzzled. “Chickens? Chickens aren’t scary.”

“Some chickens are,” Nichol said in all seriousness. “You can never tell with fairytales.”

Anika said, “Do you really want to help me with my report instead of play outside?”

They all nodded.

“With our imagination capes helping us, this will be the best book report ever,” said Nichol confidently.

Anika jumped up to get her imagination cape. “And the most fun,” she declared.

When she got back, Anika picked up her pencil and notebook of paper. “Where’s my fairytale book?” she asked.

A giggle rang out from the mass of cousins eager to go outside. Faith wiggled her way to the doorway and yelled, “I got it! I got it! And I get to pick the first story.”

“Hey!” exclaimed Silas. “No fair!” And he began to worm his way after her.

With a squeal Faith shot out the door. Close behind were Silas, Henry, Zahra, and Kyra all screaming they wanted to pick first. The older cousins followed to make sure the book didn’t get shredded to bits before they even started.

Anika was the last out the door, but she saw what happened next just as clearly as everyone else. Faith was dodging a grab by Zahra by twisting to the right. Faith did not notice the small bench in her way. The bench caught her in the stomach, and Faith folded over it dropping the book in the process.

The book of fairytales hit the cement so hard the words and letters fell right out of the pages!

“Faith,” exclaimed Olivia, “what happened?”

Faith was heartbroken. “I’m sorry,” she moaned as the cousins gathered around the scattered mess of words and letters.

The book was cracked open and leaning against the bench’s leg. Words and letters were still pouring out from its pages into a spreading pool of alphabetic soupy mess.

“Now how are we going to pick a story? They’re all mixed up,” said Henry.

Faith jumped over the bench and began to shovel the words back into the book. “Maybe if we put the words back and close it, they will all go back,” Faith said.

“Like rebooting a computer?” asked Skyler.

“Yes,” Faith said pushing on a particularly long word (“bittersweet”) to get it to go back into the book. With each word Faith spoke she gave “bittersweet” a hard shove. “We…just…need…to put…them…back. Whoa!”

When Faith said the word “back” she gave the shove all her might. “Bittersweet” suddenly gave way and fell into the folds of the book. Faith was pushing so hard she fell in right after it and vanished from sight!


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