cover image Instead of Three Wishes

Instead of Three Wishes

Megan Whalen Turner. Greenwillow Books, $15 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13922-3

Princes in disguise, royal elves and book-loving ghosts all play a part in the seven stories of this intermittently promising collection. Throughout, debut author Turner's style is expansive, allowing for mood-setting details and for occasionally sharp wit, but most of her plots follow familiar, predictable patterns. As a rural town fills up with leprechaun-hunters in ""A Plague of Leprechaun,"" for example, it's easily foreseen that the sole disinterested party, an art school graduate intent on pursuing his craft, will end up with the little green fellow's bag of gold. On the other hand, the entry ""Aunt Charlotte and the NGA Portraits"" is a standout. This carefully framed narrative unfolds slowly and suspensefully to reveal a series of puzzles, their settings ranging from an underpopulated island off North Carolina to Canaletto's Venice, their marvelous resolution followed by a denouement of near-equal magic. The inventiveness and control shown here augur well for Turner's future endeavors. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)