Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Genie Scheme

The Genie Scheme

Kimberly K. Jones
For ages 9 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2009   ISBN: 978-1416955542

Janna is fed up with not having much money. She wishes that she could buy new clothes, and she wishes that she could read the new title in the Medieval Maids series, The Secret Princess, without having to put her name on the long library waiting list. She is therefore pleased when she finally has enough money saved to buy her own copy of The Secret Princes.

Reluctantly Jana goes to the thrift store with her mother  to choose a secondhand coat to replace her old coat. She holds the promise of her new book close to her heart as she watches her mother look through the clothes. Then Jana sees an old bag lady being turned away by the cashier because she does not have enough money to buy a hat. Jana knows the old lady needs the hat to stay warm at night so she buys the hat for her, giving away her precious book money.

Later that day, to the girl's surprised horror, the old lady suddenly appears in Jana's room. Jana learns that the lady is a genie, a bona fide wish granting genie. Betters still, unlike the genies in books, this genie does not have a three-wish limit. Jana can have as many wishes as she wants. Without hesitation, Jana wishes for all kinds of things. Her room is soon overflowing with clothes and other items, and yet Jana is not happy. Surely, she should be happy? Why aren't all the things she now has making "a difference in her life?"

All too often, we think that money and material possessions will make us feel happy and fulfilled. As we read this funny and cleverly quirky story, we discover that perhaps happiness is not something that we can buy in a shop. Perhaps there is more to this happiness thing then we realize.

With lively characters and memorable moments, Kimberly K. Jones has found a way to show her readers that getting "things" does not guarantee that a person will be happy.