Sunday, April 11, 2010

Any Which Wall

by Laurel Snyder

This book is a real treasure.  I received it in my last order from Titlewave and the synopsis appealed to me so much I took it home to read it even before Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me, which was the one I had been anxious to read.  I still look forward to reading the Newberry winner but Any Which Wall was so well-written I'm glad I took a chance on it!

If you had a magic wall
that could take you to any place
and any time, where would you go?

Would you want to visit castles
and desert islands?

Would you want to meet  famous wizards,
terrible pirates,  beautiful queens, and dastardly outlaws?

If so, then you  are just like Henry and Emma 
and Roy and Susan-and you will probably
 like this story a lot.
In fact, you might even wish
something similar would happen to you!
(inside front cover)

The adventure is fun, the characters are believable and the illustrations by Leuyen Pham are reminiscent of Ramona in their adorable simplicity.  It's Snyder's writing that really drew me in though. 
A sampling:
At first, when her mother announded that she'd be spending the summer watching Henry, Emma, and Roy, Susan complained loudly and bitterly, but when she realized that her new best friend, Alexandria, was going to be spending July and August in Chicago, Susan became instantly less miserable at the prospect of babysitting.  She didn't have much else to do, so she dug her bike out from under a pile of garden hose in the garage and dusted it off. (p. 9)

It's one long, interesting sentence!! The four neighborhood kids bike one night through a cornfield (in Iowa, naturally) and discover this wall right in the middle of the field.  Each time they visit the wall they learn new things about it's ability to transport them.  It's magical, really!  I enjoyed how Snyder, often very subtly, talks to the reader.  I enjoyed how smoothly her writing flows over me.  I loved reading this book and, after exploring her website, need to seek out other books by Snyder! 

Snyder's blog

Highly Recommended-Elementary Fiction
5/5 peaceful stars
Read this book!!


NatalieSap said...

I've seen this at the library many times - you know, when the same book keeps grabbing your attention every time you browse, but for some reason, you don't pick it up? That's this one for me. But it sounds wonderful! I love the sentence you picked out and know that I'll enjoy the book just from that. Thanks!

Jenners said...

Oh .. this sounds like fun.

I can't wait until my son gets older and we can explore these type of books together.