Which Way to Anywhere

Little, Brown. (Which Way to Anywhere: Bk. 1). Sept. 2023. 528p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316536394.
Gr 4-7–From the author of the popular “How to Tame Your Dragon” series comes a new magical tale that incorporates both magical fantasy and science fiction elements to shape a wholly unique universe. Five young children are at the center of a large, chaotic cast of human, alien, and robotic characters. K2 and Izzabird’s mother (a witch) has married a “normal” human with two children of his own: Theo and Mabel. The stepchildren must learn to work together and appreciate each other’s magical and benign strengths when their baby sister Annipeck gets kidnapped and taken through a magic portal to a far-off, dangerous planet. Slightly ridiculous characters and silliness abound alongside scary moments of danger or sadness for the group. Though older readers may be put off by the childish misspellings used by several characters (e.g. “Animashun Poshun” instead of “Animation Potion”), this is an excellent introduction for younger children to the world of darkly strange stories with a warped sense of humor. Children who enjoy this book will likely go on to enjoy Catherynne M. Valente’s “Fairyland” series and Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
VERDICT A wonderful intermediate read for late elementary to early middle school readers interested in complex fantasy or science fiction stories.

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