Sunday, November 20, 2011

Following the Footsteps: Any Which Wall

Any Which WallE. Nesbit wrote some great books about groups of children, usually siblings, who find magic in their everyday world (a carpet, a creature in the sand pit) and then have adventures which usual ending untidily.  The kids then have to deal with awkward interactions with adults who don't want to hear "magic" as part of any explanation.  I love those books.

So did Eager, who added to the tradition by writing his own books about kids, sometimes using cousins to round up the numbers, who also come across magic and have their own adventures, sometimes mentioning how much they learned from reading Nesbit about how to handle these kinds of things (a magic well, or lake, or a partial coin).  And now in Any Which Wall Laurel Snyder also embraces this tradition with her group of kids (neighbors, two sets of siblings) who find a magic wall and use their knowledge of magic learned from Eager and Nesbit's books to figure out the system and how to handle the magic-induced fall out.

It's hard for me to judge how kids would appreciate this book, since they would not feel the warm cozy blanket of nostalgia.  But they'd probably like it for the same reason that Nesbit and Eager's contemporary children liked their books -- interesting children solving interesting problems on their own, and the problems range from esoteric magic theory through escaping danger to facing unpleasant facts about yourself.

I'll try it on my seventh grader.  And my fifth grader, if he catches up on the reading I've already piled around him.  They are good test cases, as I don't think they've ever read the Nesbit or Eager books.  Humph.

1 comment:

Laurel said...

Thanks so much for reading, and understanding so fully what I was trying to do with Any Which Wall! I hope the kids like it! I always tell myself-- there's a book for every reader and a reader for every book. All that matters is that everyone find their match.