On an unplanned detour from home to school one morning, Avery and Zib find themselves climbing over a stone wall into the Up and Under - an impossible land filled with mystery, adventure and the strangest creatures. And they must find themselves and each other if they are to also find their way out and back to their own lives.
If you’ve read a lot of classic children’s books, Over the Woodward Wall will feel very familiar. Sprinkled throughout are hints of the Chronicles of Narnia, the Oz books, Alice in Wonderland, and others, even McGuire’s own Wayward Children series. As short as it is, it rambles in the way the best classic children’s portal stories do, where it’s more about the experience than the plot ... How many times can I write “this book is awesome, it’s beautifully written and broke my heart into a million pieces, OMG go read it right now”? Because all of those things are true about Over the Woodward Wall. It is as wonderful and charming as you expect a Seanan McGuire book to be, yet straightforward enough to appeal to middle grade readers. This is the perfect book to read to a child right before bed, a chapter a night to keep the thrill going. And older readers will delight in it as well, even without having read Middlegame first. Honestly, what more is there to say? This book is awesome. OMG go read it right now!
Seanan McGuire, writing as Baker, crafts a delightful, fable-like portal fantasy that works as a charming standalone adventure and serves as a metafictional tie-in to her 2019 blockbuster Middlegame ... n the surface, this reads like a sophisticated contemporary take on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but the connection to Middlegame adds a complex, self-aware edge that elevates the story beyond the children’s fantasies that inspired it. Readers won’t have to have read Middlegame to enjoy this, but those who have will take pleasure in the multiple layers of meaning behind each scene. With lyrical prose and deep stores of emotion, this grown-up fairy tale works on every level.