It’s not every day that I find myself gushing about two books in the same week—in fact, this may be the first time it’s happened. But gush is all I can do when I mention Any Which Wall. Snyder, who calls her story an Edward Eager tribute slash ripoff, has followed in the footsteps of the master. It’s not a watered down version of classic storytelling. It’s a tale to endear the “light and tasty fantasy” genre to a whole new generation of readers.
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.
There are too many favorite bits to list. The story is so appealing … the children eat potato chips and chocolate milk for lunch, “which would have horrified their parents but tasted just right.”
The writing is spot-on … “Wichita Grim turned and pulled the rope to him, hand over hand, so fast that the animal flew along the ground, despite her great size. If you think of how a piece of spaghetti flies into your mouth when you suck it in, you will have some idea of how the dog flew.”
The laugh-out-loud moments are lovely … “But Alexandria says she’s a weirdo, and she only became a librarian so that people would have to talk to her.”
Strangers to Edward Eager will still love Any Which Wall, and will hopefully be led back to the master of us all. But devotees will have even more fun. They’ll spot brilliant strokes, like Henry and Emma playing Parcheesi … a game played by the children in Eager’s novels.
I’ve already started reading Any Which Wall aloud to my siblings. Another Top Book of 2009.
ARC courtesy of the publisher.