The first thing that attracted me to The Search for WondLa was the beautifully and imaginatively illustrated cover. My initial impression was that it looked like a modern take on The Wizard of Oz. I was closer than I realized as the description on the back of the book explains that this book is popular author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi’s nod to folk and fairytale masters such as the Brothers Grimm and Frank L. Baum.
The back of the book jacket describes The Search for WondLa as a ‘new fairytale for the twenty first century’ and it does not disappoint. The story follows Eva Nine, a girl living in a futuristic time and place. Eva Nine has lived her entire life underground with a robot care giver known as Muthr. Eva has never seen another human being.
Eva’s sheltered life changes dramatically when her underground home is attacked by a hunstman.Her home is left in ruins and Eva barely escapes with her life to the surface of the planet. Eva has to flee the wreckage of her home with just a few tools for her survival and a mysterious photograph that depicts a ‘girl, an adult, a robot, and the word WondLa.’
Though Muthr spent Eva’s entire life preparing her to survive on ‘the surface’ Eva finds with each passing day that things are not what they were expected to be. Eva makes several interesting friends along the way who help her navigate the strange world and help her evade the huntsman on more than one occasion.
Eva is a brave, bright, intelligent , and a wonderfully modern heroine. The characters she meets along the way are all creatively imagined, new and familiar at the same time. The parts for a great story are all here: friendship, loyalty, adventure,mystery, danger, and a wicked cast of villans.
I can’t say more for fear of ruining the fun of unraveling the mystery of this book, the first in a trilogy. In my opinion DiTerlizzi has written and illustrated a new classic and an asset to any adventure loving child’s bookshelf. I would also recommend this as a smashing read aloud for classrooms and living rooms alike!
The quote on the page opposite the title page of the book says it quite well:
“If you want your children to be intelligent, READ THEM FAIRYTALES. If you want your children to be more intelligent, READ THEM MORE FAIRYTALES.”- Albert Einstein