The Lost Wonderland Diaries

Shadow Mountain. (Lost Wonderland Diaries: Bk. 1). Sept. 2020. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781629727868.
Gr 3-5–Newfound friends Celia and Tyrus may have opposite interests, but they’ll need both their skills to help them save Wonderland. When Celia and Tyrus discover Lewis Carroll’s fabled lost diaries, they get pulled into Wonderland, though it’s markedly different than the Wonderland that bookish Tyrus expected. As the two bound through episodic chapters, meeting both familiar characters and new ones, Celia flexes her logic skills to help decipher riddles and puzzles. Naturally, things get extra dicey when the Queen of Hearts shows her true colors. This novel succeeds at highlighting the ways in which different talents and interests are beneficial, and how well differences can complement each other. The “logic” of Wonderland feels alternately forced and adroit, and ultimately the tale never quite feels wonderful, despite its premise and pacing. Of positive note is a scene early in the book that demonstrates, via Celia, an excellent way to apologize when you’ve said something that has hurt someone, even if the result wasn’t your intention. Celia is white, Tyrus is Black, and Wonderland is filled with primarily non-humanoid creatures.
VERDICT There are many takes on Carroll’s famous locale, and while this one is unique, it’s not entirely successful. Consider for large collections or voracious fans of Wonderland reworks.

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