What will Jessica wear? She hurries to call her best friend Lila Fowler to consult on the perfect Enchanted Forest outfit. We get a few quick lines about the silly, at least in Elizabeth’s opinion, Unicorn Club. Liz has decided on her white jeans and blue top as her Enchanted Forest outfit while Jessica arrives at breakfast in her green jumpsuit but her hair is not yet combed. Thumbs down to the artist who drew everyone in Sweet Valley wearing blue jeans.
As Elizabeth carries her breakfast plate to the sink she’s worried about something, hesitantly she reminds Jessica of a “promise” she made to her the day before. Jessica, you haven’t forgotten your promise have you? Oh, Elizabeth you’ve been a twin sister for twelve years and you STILL haven’t caught on to Jessica yet?
There’s no answer and when Liz whirls around to confront her twin she finds Jessica has already slipped out of the kitchen. Mrs. Wakefield has a concerned parent moment and gets Liz to tell all: Caroline Pearce, the biggest gossip of SVMS, is determined to be BFF with Saint Elizabeth. All she needs is a friend to be her seatmate on the bus. You'd wonder why Elizabeth who was once decribed as "friend to the world" would have such a problem with this. Elizabeth tells her mom "I sort of made up a story" (you lied!) and told Caroline she had already promised to be Jessica’s seat mate on the bus ride to the park. Now Elizabeth is worried Jessica might not rescue her from being stuck on the bus next to a social pariah like Caroline and ruin her entire trip to the amusement park! Elizabeth is a hypocrite.
Jessica reappears, her previously uncombed hair now arranged into soft waves around her face. Whoa, I wish I could comb my hair like that. They leave for school and Elizabeth runs to keep up with her chattering twin who can’t wait to go on the new Super Coaster: ten stories tall, travels over 100 mph and one car is even rumored to go backwards! because all roller coasters have at least ONE car that can independently go backward. Elizabeth was never a big fan of roller coasters.
They arrive at school to find everyone all hyped up over the class trip.
Elizabeth climbs on the big yellow bus, anxious to claim a good seat, thinking Jessica is right behind her. We can all see what’s coming. Pretty, popular girls in tween books can only have two best friends at one time, you see, and unfortunately for Elizabeth they (Amy and Julie) are already sitting with each other. Nora Mercandy is sitting with Brooke Dennis and so on. All of Lizzie’s friends have already paired up leaving her standing all alone in the isle of the bus while everyone else already has someone to sit with!
Jessica has indeed conveniently forgotten all about her promise to her twin and Lila is now her seatmate and she’s even wearing a matching violet jumpsuit to Jessica’s green one (note to artist: so that can’t be Lila on the cover!). Elizabeth whines “You’re supposed to be sitting with me, remember?”
“Don’t be such a baby, Elizabeth.” says Lila. That’s a phrase Sweet Valley folk should repeat more often to Elizabeth.
So grab a Kleenex and shed a few angst tears at your own childhood memories of being the odd person out as Elizabeth is stuck, after all, with Creepy Caroline Pearce. Liz tries not to groan when Caroline begins talking her ear off. As the bus pulls out of the school parking lot, Liz vows she is never going to forgive Jessica. This lasts…about five seconds.
They arrive and park in the Enchanted Forest parking lot and the kids are bouncing off the walls of the bus, they can’t wait to go on all their favorite rides! Mr. Bowman and Ms. Wyler, are chaperoning. Mr. Bowman announces “Ms. Wyler and I are going to pay for your admission.” Oh, good, I wondered who was paying for this class trip. Teachers in Sweet Valley must be getting some paycheck. No one had to sell pizzas or anything to raise money. Lucky!
Breathing a sigh of relief as she parts from social pariah Caroline, Elizabeth joins Amy and Julie. After getting their tickets, they pass through enterence of The Enchanted Forest-a glass tunnel with an artificial waterfall that cascades all around them! Not bad. The park has two main areas: Fairy Tale Land with the appropriately named theme rides, and a Fun Zone that has traditional rides commonly found at any amusement park.
But Elizabeth is *sniff* just not happy because there’s Jessica and Lila walking together, obviously planning out their day's schedule and for poor Elizabeth seeing them together makes her feel *sob* just a bit left out! *sob sob*.
But Elizabeth’s self pity is swept away by the almost magical environment of the Enchanted Forest, a lush green lawn, with beautiful, colorful flowers
in the shape of a Mickey Mouse head everything glitters so that Liz just can’t be sad at her favorite theme park. Amy and Julie drag Elizabeth onto the steam locomotive that takes visitors all around the park. As Liz waves to the Sweet Valley kids on the street below Caroline tries to set up a lunch date with her at Little Red Riding Hood’s House but Elizabeth is quick to flub an excuse to the red headed gossip girl. She also tries to forget about her twin, her best friend in the whole world, and her betrayal with that darn broken promise.
Liz needn’t feel so bad. Things are not always so rosy between best friends Lila and Jessica, they're in the middle of an arguement! So what else is new? Lila wants to go straight to her favorite attraction at the park, the Mirror Maze, but Jess wants to ride that new Super Coaster first! As she stops to consult her map of the park Jessica realizes Lila has slipped away to talk to a cute boy with wavy blond hair and deep blue eyes. Jessica is irritated that Lila saw him first. He’s an old friend Lila met at summer camp last year and, get this, they’re ditching Jessica to go ride the Haunted Tunnel together! Jessica can meet up with them in an hour at Hansel and Gretel’s Woods. They walk away leaving Jessica staring, openmouthed, without waiting for her answer! Jessica left speechless. Lila finally gets a man before Jessica's had a chance to sleep with him. Cool.
Then Jessica sees Ellen (I was wondering if Ellen had come on this trip. Liz could’ve been her seat partner on the bus!) And she runs to join another group of Sweet Valley classmates.
Elizabeth is still too overcome by the park’s glitter and beauty to be reminded of her earlier depression. She's now determined to forget about her twin, and enjoy this day. While riding the train, Elizabeth, Amy and Julie are delighted by the attractions of Fairy Tale Land, Look! There’s the Farmer In the Dell, where life-size characters act out the nursery rhyme every fifteen minutes. Aren’t they a little old to be getting so excited about nursery rhymes? It makes Liz feel a little funny. This was one of her favorites when she was little but it hadn’t even been on her list of things to see at the park today. But Elizabeth does hope to get her picture taken with Prince Valiant. (Who?)
They get off in Fairy Tale Land and head for the ride Elizabeth wanted to go on first, King Abelard’s Castle, where a boat takes visitors through an exciting renaissance period attraction, a fantasy land of royalty and knights in shining armor. The other Fariy Tale Land rides Amy and Julie want to go on sound really babyish, Ali Baba’s Treasure Hunt and Dracula’s Haunted House for example.
King Abelard’s castle is surrounded by a moat and tall, wispy-leaved eucalyptus trees giving it an eerie and magical look. They’d just gotten in line for the ride when Elizabeth hears Jessica calling her but she pretends not to hear deciding this time she’s not going to be so forgiving with her twin. WOW! I wonder how long Elizabeth can hold it out? Sitting next to Amy on the ride Elizabeth happens to look back and has a twinge of guilt-poor Jessica is sitting all by her lonesome in the very last seat on the ride. Fight that guilty feeling Liz, fight it!
This ride is pretty darn scary! Amy screams as a (fake) alligator snaps its giant teeth at the boat's occupants. You can imagine the animatronics and sound effects as a wizard is described waving a hand over a magical brew while King Abelard’s court has a merry feast with court ladies bowing and jesters doing flips while juggling flaming torches. A creepy looking guest leans over their boat and calls “Come join the party!” Amy is so scared she nearly wets herself. In another room, scary looking animals almost jump into the boat with them but one is pulled away by an evil looking wizard. They’re startled by a gargoyle above them when it begins to speak. Elizabeth and Amy cling to each other and shriek as the boat dips and sways. The boat ride takes them outdoors and they scream again as two knights on horseback collide above while the boat passes safely into a tunnel beneath. Is anyone swearing off scary amusement park rides yet? Take a deep breath and just repeat what Liz tells Amy as they gulp with relief that the two knights did not hit them, “It’s only a ride.”
Elizabeth thinks of her poor twin sitting all alone with no friend to cling comfortingly to. How touching. The boat enters another room where a young blond haired girl, imprisoned in a cage, cries for help, she reminds Lizzie of Jessica. Then Amy, still screaming like she’s about seven years old, points to a huge double headed ax swinging right over their heads “Oh no!” she shrieked, “It’s going to chop our heads off!” (we wish) Both Elizabeth and Amy move at the same time and bonk heads. Ouch! For a minute everything goes blurry for Elizabeth but then comes back into focus.
*Spoiler!* Remember this moment, it’s important.
Wow, we really hit hard. Are you OK? Both girls are soooo relieved the ax did not get them! How old are they again? Ten?
The ride is over. As the three friends disembark from the boat Elizabeth decides she’s held her grudge against her twin long enough (told you!) and is ready to kiss and make up. But when she turns around to find her sister, Jessica is gone! Assuming she’s gone on to the next ride, Caterpillar Cavern, complete with a caterpillar-shaped train, (that's for babies!) Amy reassures Liz she’ll probably find Jessica at the caterpillar ride. They take their seats and enjoy the, only semi-scary this time, ride through an underground cavern where lizards, mice and moles almost jump into their train with them and where the big payoff at the end is a larger-than-life (wait for it) CATERPILLAR! Which causes Liz to grab Amy’s arm in fright. But when they exit this ride Elizabeth has still seen no sign of Jessica and she is now determined to find her.
With Amy and Julie they begin searching the park, Elizabeth inquires every Sweet Valley group she meets at the different rides: the Moonwalk, Blind Man’s Bluff where she meets Lila and a boy she’s never seen, and no, neither have seen her twin, and no luck at the Super Coaster either, none of the people she meets at any of these rides has seen Jessica. Bored with looking for Jessica, Amy and Julie want to ride rides (duh) so Lizzie waves them off. It’s much more important to her to be searching for her missing sister while on a class trip at a crowded amusement park, not wasting time going on the rides!
One thing Elizabeth knows for certain, Jessica is definitely missing. Elizabeth tries not to panic. But she can just FEEL something isn’t right about this whole thing and we all know what happens when Elizabeth’s ‘spider sense’ starts tingling. Then Elizabeth has a sudden realization-She never actually SAW Jessica get out of the boat at the King Abelard’s Castle ride! Therefore, she must still be ON the ride, or maybe she fell out of the boat and is now injured and all alone with no one to hear her cries for help, or maybe worse! She must be so scared! Elizabeth wastes no time getting back to Fairy Tale Land, back to the castle ride to save her twin. Saint Elizabeth to the rescue!
At King Abelard’s Liz is shocked to find the ride is now closed up, deserted. No boats, no attendants. This MUST have something to do with Jessica’s mysterious disappearance! (Gee, ya think so?) Elizabeth finds a small rowboat, rows across the moat, and discovers a door to the castle which opens when she turns the doorknob (sorry it doesn’t talk to her) and slowly she enters.
It’s pitch black inside. Thinking she heard a scream down yonder dark corridor she calls out “Jessica, hang on. I’m coming!” Elizabeth takes one step forward and suddenly she’s
falling down the rabbit hole falling down a steep incline, sliding into some kind of storeroom, colliding with a large wooden cask. Out of the cask crawls...a little girl!
The little girl introduces herself as Princess Charity and tells Elizabeth they must hurry and hide! You can just hear Liz saying this with an English accent “Hide from whom?” King Nestor’s knights of course. Elizabeth tries to persuade the girl this is only a scary amusement park ride, her parents and brothers haven’t really been captured and thrown into cages along with the rest of the kingdom. The knights aren’t REAL, don’t you understand? This is only a ride! But this little girl is wearing a pink silk floor length tunic decorated with jewels and fine brocade. Whoa, boy! She no animatronic, Princess Charity’s legit! Elizabeth thinks maybe the park has added actors to the ride. Then she notices real blood dripping from a real bonafide wound on Princess Charity’s hand! No way the actors guild would support such abuse.
Hearing footsteps and voices Elizabeth and the princess dive back into the wood cask to hide, “Hold fast, my loyal page. The princess lies somewhere in the storehouse. Get on with it and bring her back to me.” The voice belongs to Prince Kendrick. Never fear, he’s not ordering his footservant to go a-whoring, Prince Kendrick vows to avenge his father, King Nestor and find Princess Charity. And to drive his point home (sorry I couldn’t resist the pun) he thrusts the blade of his sword into the very cask Lizzie and the Princess are hiding in, splintering the wood right above their heads! “Methinks we should search the catacombs again,”. Lizzie and the princess breathe a sigh of relief as their pursuers stomp away.
The coast all clear the two girls crawl out. Princess Charity bursts into tears over those “…dreadful, dreadful, men.” Who are certianly going to find her now and when they do they will “work me all day and keep me locked up all night. Then when I grow up (King Nestor) will marry me off to his wretched son Kendrick, and I’ll be miserable forever. *sob*”
Realizing this is no play-act Elizabeth does her best to comfort the little girl and come up with a plan to free Charity’s family from the cages Nestor has imprisoned them in and help them all fight their way to freedom. First they need a distraction; we’ll knock a big pile of these wooden caskets over! No, too heavy. Set something on fire! “Half the kingdom is on fire already.” Charity points out. Liz walked right into that one.
As Charity is about to go into another crying jag of despair, Elizabeth is searching for a tissue for her when she bumps her camera and has an epiphany. She quickly takes Charity’s picture and yes, her anticipated reaction to the sudden flash of light is just what we’d expect someone from the Dark Ages to be. Ha! Get it? Flash of light and she's from the DARK ages!! Since Charity doesn’t know what a camera is, there’s just a slight possible chance that King Nestor’s knights won't know either! It’s the perfect distraction. The girls set off on their quest.
They sneak into the central courtyard where Princess Charity’s father, King Abelard himself, and her brothers are imprisoned in the medieval cages. Elizabeth marvels at how her favorite ride seems to have come to life (Could Elizabeth just be having a dream? Banish the thought!). Elizabeth will count to one hundred before jumping out to distract the knights with her camera while Charity will open the cage doors and unleash the battle on King Nestor and his knights. (Hope those cages aren't locked or anything) After counting, Elizabeth steps out from her hiding place and is quickly spotted by a knight, “Ha,” he cries, “another fair maiden for Nestor! Come along, girlie. ‘Tis hopeless to run away.”
“Wait,” shouts Elizabeth. “I have a weapon more powerful than all of your blades and arrows. It will paralyze all of you where you stand.”
She begins flashing her camera at them.
“My eyes! I can’t see. I’m blinded!”
But Elizabeth’s parlor trick doesn’t last long.
“We’re not dead you fools,” says Prince Kendrick and just as he’s about to take a swing at Elizabeth with his sword, a man comes up behind the Prince and takes him out with a heavy mace. Yay, Charity! She was able to free one of her brothers who arrived just in time to save Liz! “Thank you, sir!” a grateful Elizabeth says to him but the big man can only grin before turning to block an advancing foe with his...sword? I thought he was carrying a mace!
Elizabeth watches as all the kingdom-dwellers are now free to take up arms against their oppressors and within a few minutes the bad guys are locked in their own cages and liberty and justice for all has been retored to the kingdom of Abelard. Hooray!
Princess Charity is reunited with her family, the kingdom is saved, and everyone is eternally grateful to Elizabeth who modestly admits, “I only did what anyone would do” and her name will hereby be known throughout the kingdom as, Rainbow Bright.
“Say, didn’t we see you get captured earlier by that wretched King Nestor?” Elizabeth gasps, Why that must have been Jessica, my twin sister, she looks just like me. I’ve been looking everywhere for her.
See, even though wicked Prince Kendrick is now safely behind bars his father, King Nestor is still at large. AH, so it was King Nestor who abducted Jessica! and who is now, at this very moment, carrying her off to his kingdom which is located on the other side of the forest and across the river. Elizabeth is told she can find a boy with a raft who will help her.
King Abelard himself offers Elizabeth his escort of safe passage through the forest. Elizabeth bids farewell to her new friends, hugs Charity goodbye, and after saying farewell to King Abelard at the forest's edge, starts down the
Mississippi riverbank in search of said boy Our story takes a sudden turn from Walter Scott to Mark Twain as Elizabeth finds a boy sprawled on the grass, straw hat covering his face, fast asleep by his fishing pole. She awakens him with a giggle, “How many fish do you think you’ll catch that way?” a freckled, sandy haired, blue eyed boy with an upturned nose introduces himself as Tom Sawyer (who else?) and he’s completely bowled over by Elizabeth Wakefield’s beauty.
He will complement her three separate times on it during their adventure together even going so far with “You’re lots prettier than Becky Thatcher.” Making Elizabeth giggle like a schoolgirl.
Tom takes Liz on his raft, Liz admires his rafting skills as they shoot the rapids and Liz is thrilled because she just finished reading Tom Sawyer a few days ago. We’re forced to more of Liz’s sighing “If only Jessica could be here with me.” When Tom mentions (again) how pretty Elizabeth is, this also reminds Elizabeth of Jessica (again) because Jessica’s more used to this kind of flattery than Liz is! (oh really? Liz must’ve had real self esteem issues before Todd Wilkins came into the picture!)
Still on the raft, she gets Tom to tell her the story of how he and Becky Thatcher outsmarted Injun Joe in the cave “Becky was a mite scared, I reckon.” (Americana meets British Alice in Wonderland) when Injun Joe was trying to kill them. Delighted, Elizabeth cries how his version was even better than the book, Tom is confused, What book? No one could put a story like mine in a book. Oops.
Liz forgot she’s not in Kansas anymore.
When they reach the boarder of Nestor’s kingdom, Tom and Elizabeth see footprints that lead them to a cave. Elizabeth points “Someone has been here!” who else could it have been but Jessica’s kidnapper? They have no choice really but to enter the cave and follow. A resourceful Tom lights a short candle he happened to be carrying in his pocket. As they make their way through the cool, dripping cave, Elizabeth shivers, was that a girl screaming? “Oh, Tom what if it’s Jessica!” Elizabeth takes off running, stumbles, falls, and triggers a cave-in.
The exit sealed off, Tom and Elizabeth are now trapped in a small area of the cave by the rockslide. After relighting his candle stub so they can find each other, Tom points out that the pile of rocks Liz tripped over may have been a deliberate booby trap set by King Nestor to thawart anyone following him. Elizabeth has (yet another) guilt trip over Jessica, if only she had let Jessica sit with her on that darned ride! She struggles not to cry.
Tom, our hero, cheers her, “Don’t give up, we’ll find (your sister)” but…now they’ve got a new problem! A small pool of water from a stream is rapidly forming in their confined area! Then Elizabeth is startled by a small mouse running over her feet, Tom is about to kill it for her with a small rock (he’s all boy, isn’t he cute?) but Liz, now turned animal rights activist, stops him.
Elizabeth discovers a top rock seems to be holding the entire stack of rocks in place (I still find this hard to picture in my head) and maybe if they can just knock it away the entire pile will shift thus allowing them a way out. Trying to start yet ANOTHER slide in such a confined area sounds dangerous to me but Tom takes aim with his small stone, hits the key rock, and… nothing happens. Liz excuses him, “These rocks just aren’t heavy enough” (okaaayy) cue another one of Elizabeth’s guilt trips. Oh, what a mess I’ve made! Tom gallantly takes her hand reassuring her, hey, he likes a good adventure! Liz tries to swallow the lump of emotion in her throat and smile bravely. Cute!
They suddenly realize the mouse is helping them by chewing on a clump of grass previously holding that stubborn rock in place (ah, so THAT”S why they can’t start another dangerous rockslide!) it’s getting perilous now: the freezing water is rising, Tom’s candle stub is growing shorter, can the little mouse do it? The big rock begins to move and…rocks crash all around as Elizabeth looses Tom’s comforting grip. When the second rock slide is over, Liz and Tom are separated!
In the dark Tom tells Elizabeth to move slowly, they don’t want to risk another rockslide, and follow the sound of his voice as he recites the Declaration of Independence, “ ‘When in the course of human events…’ ”and Liz grins at his choice. I like this Tom Sawyer character. He’s resourceful, chivalrous, generous in his complements and he won an oratory contest at school once with the very speech he’s now reciting.
Elizabeth is alarmed to discover she and Tom really have become separated by the rocks (so how can she hear him?). Tom is on one side, right by the entrance of the cave where they came in, while Elizabeth must continue onward to find her own exit. She realizes light is coming from somewhere so there must be another way out of the cave, but sadly this means she must say goodbye to Tom who has been a good friend to her. I’m rather sad too about this parting, Tom made the story a lot more interesting.
The light seen earlier turns out to be moonlight as Elizabeth does indeed find an exit from the cave. Then she hears a faint cry, “Help me!” it’s coming from the sky! Elizabeth is astonished to see two tiny figures: a taller one is dragging a second who has long blond hair and is whimpering. It must be Jesscia! They appear to be actually walking up into the sky on a solid looking moonbeam!
Ridiculous, I can’t walk up a moonbeam, scoffs Elizabeth the know it all. How do you know unless you try? asks a voice, it’s the mouse from the Tom Sawyer cave. A girl mouse, because Elizabeth can see she’s now wearing a little pink dress and is standing up on hind legs and she even has a name, Allegra. Allegra gives a dainty bow to Elizabeth, “Pleased to meet you.” After telling the mouse her sad story, Elizabeth puts the mouse in her T-shirt pocket.
Allegra shows Elizabeth how to walk up the moonbeam path into the sky because, as Allegra explains, you should always try at least three impossible things before breakfast. Elizabeth discovers walking up a moonbeam into the sky is just like walking on a trampoline! Cool.
It’s a marvelous walk until they enter a completely different world-gray and dull and drab, inhabited by depressed folk with balls and chains on their legs, breaking rocks with pickaxes like prisoners in old movies. Could Jessica be among them? Liz consults Allegra who asks Does she have blond hair like you? Yes. Well looky there she is!
It IS Jessica, complete with a pickax of her own! Elizabeth shouts that she’s come to rescue her! But Jessica isn't exactly overjoyed to see her, “I don’t know why you came,” she mutters, “if I’m such a bad sister, why do you want me back?” poor Jessie, you need a hug, and Elizabeth throws her arms around her, “I’d love you no matter what you did,” Elizabeth finally got her chance to kiss and make up with her sister. (or DID she?) Now Elizabeth will try and get Jessica out of here. Since the chains are magic the pick won’t break them so Jessica and the others are prisoners.
But who did this? Asks Elizabeth, The Queen of Drudgery, says Jessica, (Boy, someone had to wrack their brain real hard to come up with such an original name for the antagonist) The Queen of Drudgery hates all color and happiness, she gets her kicks by enslaving others to a lifetime of servitude breaking big rocks into little rocks. Again, Elizabeth consults Allegra for advice but Allegra doesn’t know how to break the queen’s spell. Oops, too late! The Queen of Drudgery, a tall thin woman with limp hair, dressed in gray wearing a gray crown made of interwoven chains has already arrived on the scene and spotted Elizabeth.
Using her magic she makes a shovel appear in Elizabeth’s hand for Liz is now her newest slave in her gravel pit, hee hee! But Liz defies her, “I won’t!” she throws the shovel away but it jumps back into her hands and try as she might Liz can’t let go of it, so she takes a swing at the evil queen aiming for the head but her new ankle chain prevents this. Wow, I never imagined Liz could get so violent. The queen of Drudgery chortles in delight. Jessica whines that it’s all her fault, she got Liz into this. “Can’t anyone help us?” a despairing Liz asks. A long clear note echoes in the air. A note from on high?
You’re not gonna believe this next part! A long black limousine with white wings on the sides soars out of the sky, lands before them in the gravel, a red-capped chauffer steps out to open the door and out of the limousine wearing a white leather jumpsuit fringed in white and purple, Jessica’s favorite color, notes Liz, with long purple, suede gloves and boots steps …Johnny Buck! Now we all know Liz could never dream up such an outfit, so this must REALLY be happening.
Elizabeth is so weak in the knees she collapses to the ground in shock and tries to warn her favorite singer, go back Johnny, the queen has magic powers she’ll put you in chains too like everyone else. The slender, blond haired, blue eyed teen faces the evil queen squarely, “Stop this cruel practice right now, you have no right to enslave other human beings.” Yeah, you tell her, Johnny! The wicked queen laughs as she makes a manacle form around Johnny’s ankle, another new slave, this is a profitable day indeed!
This was your last chance, says Johnny and he begins to sing which drives the queen insane, stop that terrible noise! she commands. (Oh, is Johnny Buck such a bad singer?) But the song is so lilting and happy that all the other slaves including Elizabeth and Jessica begin to perk up. Everyone’s clothes changes color, picks and shovels begin to fall out of their hands, they clap and sing along to the music, the queen’s spell has been broken! Everyone begins to mutiny against the Queen of Drudgery.
But the evil queen has one last card to play. She shrieks,"This is all your fault!" at Elizabeth who replies calmly, "I only came to save my sister," the queen snatches Jessica, and Elizabeth watches in horror as the queen throws Jessica over her shoulder and runs away. Elizabeth runs after her, stumbling over large rocks that magically rise in front of her, while the queen uses more of her magic to make a large boulder sprout legs and wings as a get away vehicle. Seeing Jessica waving helplessly from the craft’s window Elizabeth can only moan helplessly as it sails into the sky. She was losing her sister all over again. (Groan! Just when I thought I could finish this recap!)
Elizabeth runs back to Johnny and pleads for his help in saving her sister. “Don’t cry,” he pats her shoulder comfortingly and they get into his black limousine.
Elizabeth sits in a plush white seat. Johnny turns into Han Solo as he works the strange control panel and flies the car while his chauffeur takes a back seat. The limousine sounds its long clear note as they take off to pursue the queen’s craft in the sky. Looking out the window Liz can see Jessica still being held firmly in the wicked queen’s grasp, she thinks she can hear Jessica shouting and yells at her to hang on.
Johnny’s handsome face is clouded with doubt as he works the controls and maneuvers his incredible flying limousine closer to the queen, he’s not sure his magic will work from this distance. Try singing again, anyway, urges Liz, so Johnny hits the power window button to serenade the queen’s ship with his clear, strong voice. It’s working! Jessica is able to slip free and open the door to escape. Elizabeth jumps up to stand on the edge of the neon-rimmed wings and hold out her hand to Jessica. "Jump!"
Johnny spoke to his magical limousine (yes that’s the way it’s written) and they veer closer. But just as Jessica is about to jump to safety…a gnarled witch on a flying broomstick appears and Jessica is swept away! (another loud groan at all these cliché’s) Elizabeth leans too far, looses her grip on the wing and falls through the colorless gray sky. Bye, Johnny!
Tumbling head over heels Elizabeth lands in an ocean (aptly named the Enchanted Sea, of course) and sinks down below the surface. (Since she’s holding her breath, I don’t get how she can sink all the way to the bottom of this ocean but she does.) Looking down, she’s surprised that her little furry companion is still with her, has also survived the fall and is also holding her breath.
A raspy voice asks why she’s making such a funny face? (Don’t you love dreams where you can breathe underwater?) We’ve now fallen into a scene straight out of Disney.
Liz meets a bizarre looking, sea serpent creature, with a serpentine, sea horse-like body with colorful scales, lavender eyes and a large mouth full of frighteningly, at least to Elizabeth, sharp teeth making her shiver. Allegra takes one look at the creature and retreats back into her safe T-shirt pocket hideout
Luckily this sea serpent is almost a vegetairian, he only eats meat on Saturdays! His name is Sidney. “How do you do,” since trying to shake hands with Sidney would prove a bit awkward, Elizabeth curtsies to him instead! Where did Elizabeth learn to talk like that? And didn’t she have to wait until charm school to learn how to curtsy? Oh, never mind!
Sidney likes to play games and in order to keep his mind off weather or not today just might be Saturday, and to delay any snacking time, Elizabeth, at Allegra’s suggestion, teaches him how to play checkers using seashells and pebbles as game pieces, scratching a board in the sandy ocean floor.
Sidney has the intelligence of a three year old. When he captures one of Lizzie’s shells, he gets so excited he snorts and upsets all the pieces! Patient Liz puts them back and lets Sidney win the game. Sidney is now happy to explain that the witch with the long nose who flew off with Jessica is the Queen of Drudgery’s cousin, Grisolda. She’s a mean one and her magic is just as bad as her cousin's! Grisolda was banished by the wizard Merlin but escaped and Fairy Tale Land is now under her rule and has been renamed Sorrowland. Elizabeth is certainly not powerful enough to fight Gisolda, he says.
"But I must find my sister." insists Elizabeth for at least the hundredth time in this book. Sidney is heartbroken his new friend is going away. Elizabeth throws in a quick moral that maybe he’d have more friends to play games with if he’d just quit eating them, oh so THAT’S my problem? Sidney sees the light and turns vegan, he'll stick to seaweed from now on! and now Liz can continue her search for Jessica, it’s making her unhappy that she’s not with her sister, besides, you can’t play checkers when you’re unhappy, its one of the rules, crossing her fingers behind her back as she fibs. Now could he please tell her the way to Sorrowland? (God, she even calls it by its new name!) "Follow the Stream of Tears all the way until the sunbeams disappear, when you reach the dark shore, you’re there." That's almost lyrical.
Sidney takes her to the beginning of the path and Liz swears she can see tears in his lavender eyes as she waves farewell. Allegra pops back up to commend Liz on her bravery.
A green sea turtle appears and offers Elizabeth a ride. Now that everyone’s heard of Sidney’s reformation, everyone is grateful to her. Liz enjoys the scenery as she rides on the turtle’s back until the sunbeams start to fade and everything gets gloomy. Are you sure you want to enter Sorrowland? The turtle asks her, (Ack! Don’t you start doing it too!) “I have to." she says climbing off the turtle's back, "I have to find my sister.” OK! We get it, Liz!
The ocean floor slants upward, she emerges from the water happy to be back on land but her smile fades as she sees what's waitng for her above the riverbed. (The ocean has suddenly become a river?) Elizabeth and Allegra find a small, run down village with thatched roofs and cracked windows.
It seems deserted at first, as they walk down the main street until they happen upon a young woman in rags scrubbing clothes in a wooden tub. It’s Rapunzel and, thanks to Grisolda who has stolen everyone's magic, Rapunzel now has wrinkles and (gasp!) liver spots! She’s also bald as an egg! One look at her and her prince up and left. Now she’s moved back in with her mother. (Ha!) “That’s terrible,” says Liz, “but surely he loved you for more than your hair.” Rapunzel says everyone acted differently before Gisolda came, including her prince. But Grisolda’s magic is so powerful it brainwashed him and he left. Grisolda's evil magic has affected everyone so everyone is just depressed now. She warns Liz to leave before something awful happens to her too. "I must find my sister and free her from the witch. There must be some way to defeat Grisolda!" Rapunzel bursts into tears. "I don't think you ever will."
Feeling a bit distressed, Elizabeth leaves a sobbing Rapunzel only to encounter another girl inside a hut with long blonde hair and pink lips curling in wails as she sobs lying on a straw pallet. Wisps of cloth barely cover her body. Is she a reformed prostitute? No, its Thumbelina, now a giant (again, thank you Grisolda) too big to be with her husband-prince. She’s just as miserable without her man as Rapunzel. Elizabeth can only feel sorry for her and continue on.
She meets more fairy tale characters: Peter Pan is now grown up and forced to labor as an accountant. the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland makes a brief cameo wearing a waistcoat and watch. He "tsks" over his children who ran off to play without their sweaters, and he’s late meeting Alice for tea and has no time to help Elizabeth find Grisolda. Don’t mention that name, he shudders.
Elizabeth and Allegra next find a very large house crammed full of huge wooden tables and footrests. They enter to find no one there, when Elizabeth sits in one of the big chairs and puts her feet up on a padded footstool she’s surprised to hear “Ouch!” It’s Hansel and Gretel! They were sampling some of Grisolda’s gingerbread house and when they got caught, she turned them into furniture! Hansel the footstool gives Liz directions to Grisolda’s house, the gingerbread house just past the first windmill. (you can't miss it!) Since the giant who lives in this house will be home soon for dinner Elizabeth and Allegra waste no time in leaving.
The sight of Grisolda's tasty candy house reminds Liz she hasn’t eaten in ages but remembering Hansel’s story she resists temptation and tiptoes to the window. Seeing no one inside she pushes open the front door and enters.
Inside it’s dark and dusty. Snooping, Liz finds witches hats and black capes inside a chest. Cracked dishes in a dusty wooden cupboard. She examines a strange orange flower on the window ledge and is amazed when the flower opens its petals to snap at Elizabeth with its sharp teeth making her shudder. "You’re not munching on me!" Allegra identifies it as witch’s posy, "Now you tell me!" she graons at her. Now where could Jessica be?
Speaking Jessica’s name a sudden knocking from the stove leads Elizabeth to investigate, she opens the oven door and out tumbles...Jessica! She rushes to hug her twin who scolds, It’s about time!
The evil witch WAS going to cook Jessica for dinner but discovering her oven was broken, Jessica explains, Grisolda ordered pizza instead. (Seriously!) and (this is how awful Gridolda is) she ate her pizza right in front of Jessica. Didn’t even offer her one piece!
Let’s get out of here and we can get something to eat Elizabeth says. But Jessica is so hungry she can’t wait and helps herself to a piece of gingerbread window. The whole house begins to shudder. (Uh-Oh) The wooden wardrobe door swings open. ("Heeeere’s Gisolda!") Dressed in a black robe with purple lips, wrinkled face, a long nose and dark evil eyes-it's the witch! Is someone raiding my larder? She asks
Elizabeth first tells Grisolda off for kidnapping and then starving her prisoner! But then does an about face and starts begging for mercy. Please, it was just a tiny piece, please let us go, Jessica’s my twin sister, we have to be together. This gives the witch an idea, Together eh? So you shall be then. And with a few words and a wave of her hand Jessica and Elizabeth are literally joined, like Siamese twins, stuck together at the arm and leg so when one moved the other was forced to move also. Allegra panics making a quick dash from Elizabeth's pocket into the room and hides behind a chair leg.
What have you done to us, you old biddy! yells Jessica, ("Biddy??!!!") Liz realizes too late there might be such a thing as too much togetherness. The twins try to walk, in tandem, but can only turn in a circle, getting nowhere. They begin to argue over who’s fault this is and Elizabeth says "Fine! Next time I’ll just leave you to the witch, especially after the way you broke your promise-"
The argument comes to an abrupt end as we have the "twin moment" that's already been overdone to death in other books “It’s more important that we have each other," "No one means as much to me as you, Lizzie!” they exchange a one handed hug.
The witch, who had been laughing at them earlier, seeing the two sisters have made up isn't very pleased by this and decides she’ll just have to think of something nastier and it should involve all the other townspeople too! The twins clutch each other. This is the end!
Grisolda’s cat hisses at the sight of Allegra the mouse, who dashes back to Liz’s pocket, unfortunately she mistakens Liz for Jess and runs up her leg, crouched behind her knee. This gives Jessica the giggles which spreads to Lizzie. “Stop!” cries Grisolda and she begins to shake.
At the sight of the witch’s discomfort, Elizabeth finds she’s discovered Grisolda’s one weakness, laughter! Laugh, Jess! At what? At this! She tickles her twin and they start a tickle war to get each other to keep laughing. Grisolda shakes until she begins to crack and the cracks spread until she shatters like glass and is now lying on the floor in a million pieces like a jigsaw puzzle!
What happened, asks Jessica. The laughter destroyed her. Grisolda had to keep everyone around her miserable so she wouldn’t be destroyed by laughter. (Thought that one up all by yourself did you Lizzie?) But the twins are now free and they hug each other again, the townspeople are all back to normal, color and happiness has been restored to Fairy Tale Land (no longer Sorrowland) and everyone has their magic back so they can thank Elizabeth and Jessica by summoning a magic boat to take them home! "How will we steer it?" asks Liz, Don't worry, the boat knows the way home, Allegra reassures her, it's a magic boat, remember.
Allegra will stay behind, she shakes hands with both girls. All walk down to the river where the twins board a little red boat. Good-bye, good-bye! Ah, adventures are fun, but it will be good to get back to our own world. Elizabeth speaks as one mature in her years. Jessica is not paying attention, she’s more concerned about the towering wall of stone approaching them and the swift current. So much for the magic boat steering itself! They’re going to either crash or get swept into that dark tunnel in the rock, Elizabeth clings to her sister as darkness overtakes them…
Elizabeth is confused by sudden bright light and why is Jessica crying? Why is her sister’s face above her? Jessica is supposed to be next to her on the boat. But there is no boat. Elizabeth is lying on a dock at the entrance to King Abelard’s castle ride at the Enchanted Forest, surrounded by concerned people. That’s right folks, we’ve gone from Alice in Wonderland to the ending of the Wizard of Oz!
Blinking, Elizabeth sees all the familiar faces of her friends from Sweet Valley looking down at her as she turns her head. Jessica is crying for her forgiveness, but you already apologized, Liz murmurs. Amy explains to Elizabeth that she blacked out when they knocked heads on the ride. Then...that means...all of her adventures with the knights, Johnny Buck, Allegra, the witch, had only been (I bet no one saw this one coming) a dream!
Unbeliveable. But it was all so REAL! How could this be? Elizabeth is still murmuring about Rapunzel and Hansel. We haven’t gotten to those rides yet, Amy tells her. Well, it’ll be fun now that the witch is destroyed, Elizabeth says. Um Lizzie are you OK?
One of the attendants thinks maybe Elizabeth should go see the park’s registered nurse but Elizabeth insists she’s fine and Jessica promises she’ll not leave her side for the rest of the day just to make sure she’s alright. Everyone had been really worried about her while she was unconscious (such a short time too) but Elizabeth is fine now, she’s not even seriously injured and the day is still young! There's still time to go on all their favorite rides!
Come on let’s go! Laughing for no apparent reason, Elizabeth, Jessica and all their friends hurry to catch the next Enchanted Forest ride, a walk through Hansel and Gretel's Woods. Elizabeth checks her camera, its still set at one, As Amy takes Elizabeth and Jessica's picture Elizabeth looks around happily at the park , now back to normal with sparkling new paint on the buildings and colorful flowers everywhere. She just loves The Enchanted Forest!
They go on Adventures under the Sea in 3-D, where Liz is reminded of Sidney, they ride the carousel, and while whriling dizzily with Jessica on the Witch’s Magic Cauldron ride Elizabeth is just so incredibly happy to be with her sister, she’s about to burst! She so happy she suggests to Jesscia they go ride that new super coaster and she finds, after all her "adventures", the roller coaster isn't so scary after all! As the day of the class trip draws to a close, Elizabeth buys a lavender sea serpent puppet from one of the gift shops as a souvinier.
Was it all really just a dream for Elizabeth? As they pass the Farmer in the Dell attraction one of the life sized animals, a white mouse, waves, “Bye Elizabeth,” she called. Hey those characters never talk! Amy insists and how did she know Liz’s name? But Elizabeth just smiles and turns to wave one last time at Allegra before they slip past the gates to the waiting bus.