For The land of Stories: The Wishing Spell (book), go here.
The Wishing Spell is a legendary spell composed of a list of items which need to be collected and put together. If done so correctly, the Wishing Spell will grant you your one true wish, no matter how extravagant. Most people believe it to only be a myth and a childish legend but many have tried their lucknonetheless, spending and often losing their lives trying to collect the items. Hence it is deemed impossible to find all of them and put them together.
While most of the items are obviously dangerous to get, it still seems to be the twins' best shot at getting back home after falling into the Land of Stories. In the course of the first book, they find out it can only be used twice.
The Wishing Spell: A Closer Look
At the beginning of their journey, Froggy gives the twins a journal that he thinks may help them to get back home. It is written by a man from the Charming Kingdom (Alex and Conner's father, as it turns out later) who managed to collect all the items to put the Wishing Spell together and wrote about his journey. In his journal, he claims that his wish is to reunite with a woman he fell in love with in another world. Though first hearing about the Wishing Spell from the Traveling Tradesman, it is the witch Hagatha who tells Mr. Bailey what he has to do in order to collect all the items by giving him a riddle.
"Glass that housed a lonely soul up 'til midnight's final toll,
A saber from the deepest sea, meant for a groom's mortality,
a stony crown that's made to share, found deep within a savage lair.
A needle that pierced the lovely skin of a princess with beauty found within.
A wavy lock of golden rope that once was freedom's only hope.
Glittering jewels whose value increased after preserving the false deceased,
By reading the journal, the twins learn that eight items need to be collected to make the Wishing Spell complete. Parts of the riddle are easy for them to figure out due to their knowledge of fairy tales. Thus they know right away that: the 'needle that pierced the lovely skin' is the spindle on Sleeping Beauty's Spinning Wheel, the 'wavy lock of golden rope' is a lock of Rapunzel's hair, the 'glittering jewels' are the jewels of Snow White's coffin when she was thought dead, the 'bark of a basket' refers to Red Riding Hood's basket that she carried with her, and the 'glass that housed a lonely soul' is actually the result of a mishearing of 'a lonely sole', and therefore refers to Cinderella's glass slipper.
Furthermore, they decide that in order to get the 'teardrops of a maiden fairy', they simply need to 'find an upset fairy and collect her tears'.
With that knowledge in mind - and despite not having solved the riddle completely due to a few pages of the journal missing - Alex and Conner embark on the greatest scavenger hunt of their lives.
Retrieving the Items
The easiest item for them to collect is the lock of Rapunzel's hair as they started reading the journal after climbing her tower.
Unknown to them, they're not the only ones trying to get a wish granted. The Evil Queen is on a quest to collect the items as well. While Alex and Conner got all their information from the journal, the Evil Queen gets it from her Magic Mirror, who adds an important warning: The Wishing Spell can only be used twice, and as it has already been used once before. A true competition to collect the items begins. A competition that unlike the Evil Queen, the twins don't yet know about. While she sends the Huntsman's daughter to find all the needed objects, she plans to take care of Alex and Conner herself.
Meanwhile the twins are already on their way to find the second item, Cinderella's glass slipper, which, according to the journal, is very difficult to retrieve as it is the most cherished possession of the Charming Kingdom and always watched by two guards. Just to the twin's luck, a ball is being held at the palace when they arrive. With the help of a not-so-clever disguise and an amused guard called Sir Lampton, they make it inside. Shown to the display room and meeting Cinderella herself, they aren't able to steal the shoes, causing them to leave in a sad manner. Still, when Alex goes through her bag later, she finds one of the slippers inside.
The twins' next stop is the Red Riding Hood Kingdom, which they adventurously enter by climbing over the wall. The journal tells them that the Queen's castle isn't very hard to break into and they plan to do so around midnight, until an even better opportunity seems to offer itself to them when Jack promises to take them inside with him. After an encounter with Red Riding Hood herself, they are shown to a room filled with baskets and find themselves faced with a much bigger task than what they had hoped for. With building frustration, they don't manage to find the right basket until they have to leave again, leading to them going back to their former plans after all. Continuing their search after breaking into the castle at night, they find they're not the only ones trying to get the item. The Huntman's daughter beats them to it and sets fire to the room, causing the twins to get a quick hold on a piece of basket and make an adventurous escape.
On their way to the Fairy Kingdom the twins get lost, instead finding themselves in the Troll and Goblin Territory. A kidnapping of sorts leads to them being locked up and all their belongings being taken from them. To the twin's luck (and dislike), Princess Trollbella takes a liking in Conner and agrees to let both of them go if the boy kisses her. As they try to escape after retrieving everything they had collected so far, they coincidentally discover another item they hadn't even been looking for: the 'stony crown that's made to share' is the crown belonging to the Troll and Goblin Kings. Conner manages to get a hold of it and once more the twins need to run for their lives.
This time they don't miss the Fairy Kingdom. Even though Conner and Alex both have different ideas about how to get a fairy to shed a tear for them, their plans turn out to be unnecessary. They find the fairy Trix quietly crying to herself because she is due to appear at a trial. Though they have already collected one of her tears, the twins offer to accompany her.
Meanwhile the Evil Queen gets the wolf Malumclaw involved in trying to find the twins and bring them to her. Alex and Conner slowly start realizing that they aren't the only ones trying to put the Wishing Spell together.
The twins' next to stop is the Sleeping Kingdom. They read in the journal that its author only had to ask the Queen nicely in order to borrow the spindle. In fact, it's an easy task for them to get into the palace, as the guards – like most of the kingdom – are napping away. As an attempt from Conner to help the royal family keep the citizens awake during the day ends with them accidentally exposing Cinderella's slipper, they make a run for it and find themselves in Sleeping Beauty's room, where she slept for a hundred years. The Queen herself soon joins them, having called back the guards after hearing about the twins' quest. After a short conversation, she gives the spindle to them under the condition that they return it once they don't need it anymore.
A boat ride leads them to the Northern Kingdom, and through a hidden gate they swim past the guards and towards Queen Snow White's palace. As they look for the jewels attached to the coffin, they find out who exactly their competitioner is when it comes to collecting the items. Leaving the thought to the side for a moment, they once more approach the owner of the object – in this case Snow White – directly. The queen lets them know that the glass coffin was returned to the dwarfs, who now keep it in their mines.
A little downcast, Alex and Conner take the long way to the Dwarf Forests upon themselves, continuing their quest in the mines. Soon they find the coffin and manage to pry a few of the jewels loose, leaving them with just one more item to collect. Spirits soaring high with their success, they don't pay attention to their surroundings and find themselves in yet another life-threatening situation.
Getting out mostly unharmed, but still on the run, their escape leads them to Mermaid Bay and, literally, into the ocean. They encounter the Sea Foam Spirit, who turns out to have been the Little Mermaid and happens to know just what the twins didn't know they were searching for. The 'saber from the deepest sea' refers to the knife the Little Mermaid was given to kill the prince after he fell in love with another woman, so that she could return to the sea as a mermaid – an action she couldn't go through with. To the twins' disappointment, the object wasn't returned to the ocean after being used for the Wishing Spell the first time. Instead, it was dropped into the Thornbush Pit. After another long walk, and with the help of two magical shell necklaces, they get into the pit unharmed. Down there they find a knife with a curved handle, made of coral, bits of shell, and sea glass. A bit of bad luck is enough to almost trap them in the Thornbush Pit forever, if it wasn't for Froggy who comes to their help.
Despite them having collected all items necessary to get the Wishing Spell to work, the twins adventure isn't over yet. A series of unfortunate events leads to them being brought to the Evil Queen herself. In a struggle, Conner kicks the vial filled with fairy tears out of her hands, causing it to break and the tear to vanish. While an army is steadily approaching the place, the Evil Queen takes her time to tell the twins her story, and ends up collecting one of Alex's tears to activate the Wishing Spell. She is out to use it for herself and free the man in her magic mirror but things don't go as she has planned, leaving her devastated over a man she can not recognize, whose life quickly fades. The spell, however, has now been used for the second time and cannot be used again.
Aftera dramatic change of the situation, the twins and their friends find shelter in Queen Snow White's castle where they destroy the saber from the deepest sea as promised. An invitation from Cinderella to celebrate the birth of her child gives them the opportunity to return her glass slipper to her and the spindle to Sleeping Beauty. In the palace, they encounter the Fairy Godmother, who, they find out is in fact their grandmother. Furthermore she tells the twins that they have been following their own father's journal the whole time, and that they both have fairy blood in them, which is why the spell could be actived with the use of Alex's tear. They also hear from Sir Lampton that he helped them on their quest by putting the glass slipper in Alex's bag.
Due to the Fairy Godmother's ability to travel between the worlds, the Wishing Spell is no longer necessary for Alex and Conner and they can return home without its help.