I came to this looking for bedtime reading material for my daughter, and I'm not sure it is that. The language is a bit dense, and as I read I constantly had Lemony Snicket in my head saying "a word which here means..." though I think there is a lot of appeal in books that do precisely that, challenge the idea of what vocabulary we should expect of kids and underscore that reading plays a big part in language acquisition.
That aside, there is a bit of a slow start, but once we are in Fairyland this is truly a remarkable book. It is extremely creative, and the story is very compelling. Details are richly lavished on scenery and characters. There is a winking narrator who, like Lemony Snicket, is delighted to break the 4th wall and talk to you about the story you are absorbing and the tricks played on readers to do that. The traditional darkness of Fairy Tales is acknowledged, though the whole thing is finally flipped on its head in a way that makes me grin SO HARD.