“𝗦𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗼𝗼, 𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗱 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗼, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝗲 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗱, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗲𝗱.”—A. Deborah Baker
Wizard of Oz meets Alice in Wonderland, with a dose of Narnia. In the Up-and-Under, everything is a contradiction. Avery and Zib are two similar children who are also very different. When they both find themselves on the other side of the Woodward Wall, they must travel the Improbable Road and find the Improbable City where the Queen of Wands can help them find their way home. But things are not as they seem in the Up-and-Under. And a new adventure waits at every turn.
Charming. Enchanting. Captivating. Wholesome. Over the Woodward Wall is a middle-grade fantasy with catchy prose that will leave you smiling. It’s full of silly contradictions. Impossibilities. Curiosities. Most of all, its great fun! It’s full of queens and kings, some evil and some not. It’s full of giant owls, girls who can turn into murders of crows, and bramble bears. There’s rainbow mud waterfalls, and trees with glass leaves. Everything that’s impossible and improbable is suddenly possible and probable.
Avery and Zeb are from the same boring town, but they are very different children. Avery is prim and proper. Zeb is wild and messy. The kind of children whose parents would keep them apart. They couldn’t be more contradictory to one another. Yet, when they find themselves on the same journey, tied together, they must come to understand one another and rely on each other. Their only goal is to find their way home. But they cannot finish the journey alone. Together, they go through a transformation.
“𝗕𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗸𝘀 𝗺𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘀𝘂𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗼𝗻 𝘀𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗼𝗼𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗼𝗻 𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗼𝗻 𝘄𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿? 𝗜𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗯𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲! 𝗔𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗹𝗲 𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗿𝘂𝗻𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝘁𝗵 𝗼𝗳 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗿𝗲 𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗱𝗼𝗺? 𝗜𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗯𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲! 𝗔 𝗰𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗺𝗮𝗿𝘃𝗲𝗹𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝘄𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗲𝗻𝗱? 𝗜𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗯𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲! 𝗦𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀, 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗻, 𝗺𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝗯𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗯𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗱, 𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘄𝗮𝗹𝗸 𝗶𝘁 𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝗲𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵, 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗯𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝘀𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗱, 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗯𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝗮 𝗵𝗮𝗽𝗽𝘆 𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴?”
The writing was fantastic. I loved the way the Baker added direct opposites to the sentences, writing in a contradictory manor that gave the world so much feeling. Such catchy prose. Almost like reading rhymes. It flowed so well. I found myself frequently highlighting various passages.
“𝗙𝗲𝗮𝗿 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗮 𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗴𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿, 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝗳𝗲𝗮𝗿 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗾𝘂𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗳 𝗲𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵 𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝘂𝗽𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁 𝗶𝘁.”
I adore middle grade. This was such a cute read. But it was also filled with wonderful messages for middle-graders. So very wholesome! I can definitely see kids loving this story. Even as an adult I thoroughly enjoyed it. It made me feel like I was whisked away in an Alice In Wonderland-esk world following the Yellow Brick Road looking for a lamppost in Narnia. Except in this story, it’s a rainbow road full of improbabilities. The story ends in an incomplete way that suggests there will definitely be subsequent books. After all, even though the children reach their destination, they discover that their adventure is not quite over yet. I will be looking forward to the next installment. MY RATING: 4.5/5⭐️