Any Which Wall — Good Any Old Time

August 15th, 2010 by

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a HUGE fan of Edward Eager, who wrote a bunch of sweet, playful books about kids who discover temporary access points to magical adventures in their everyday world. His books include Half Magic, Magic by the Lake, Magic Or Not?, and The Time Garden (which was my pick for our time travel theme). There are seven books in all, and I’ve read each one multiple times over the years. It’s always been one of my great disappointments that Edward Eager never wrote more.

But thanks to Laurel Snyder, I now have one more chance to feel the same delight that Eager’s books always brought me. Her book, Any Which Wall, is a wonderful tribute to Eager, who is also one of her favorite authors.

The story is about four kids who come across a mysterious wall in a field near their neighborhood. They quickly realize that the wall grants wishes, and so the adventures begin — with Henry, Emma, Roy, and Susan zipping through time and space to the destinations of their dreams.

We included Any Which Wall in our beach reads booklist, and it really is perfect for sunshiney summer reading. If you’re looking for deep magical mythology or dramatic and dangerous exploits, then this is not the book for you. But who needs all that stuff all the time? Not me!

A couple weeks ago, I took the book with me on an hour-long subway ride to go bike riding on a little island by NYC. Reading Any Which Wall on the way there was amazing, because it set just the right tone for my day of fun in the sun, and it also made the time go by super quickly. So thank you, Laurel Snyder! I guess you could say that the kids in Any Which Wall found magic through a wall, and I found magic through a book!

Have any of you guys read Any Which Wall or any of Edward Eager’s books? Leave a comment and let me know, or send in a review of your own!

— Karen

Karen hasn’t come across any magical walls yet, but she often wishes for a magical subway train to take her away on an adventure — particularly on Monday mornings when she’s on her way to the office…


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Kidsmomo Podcast #17: “Time After Time”

February 2nd, 2010 by

Our latest podcast is all about books involving time travel — and this week we’ve REALLY embraced our theme. How so? Well, let’s just say that at the end of this week’s installment, one of us is going back to the future…

Tune in to see what we mean:

      (12:55)
    Download the MP3 (12.4 MB)

  • To Infinity and Beyond! — our time travel wishes, and our mystery book revealed
  • Our Time Travel book picks (Time Garden and Time Windows)
  • A stellar review from YOU (Skulduggery Pleasant)
  • Greetings from Future Karen

And don’t forget: in celebration of the Super Bowl, our next topic is sports books! So watch our latest Mystery Book Theater video and check out these sports books that’ll have you doing your own touchdown dance!

— Nancy and Karen

One Reader and Five Children and It

August 17th, 2009 by

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

Today, I have a complaint about the Internet: sometimes it’s just too awesome. (Since you’ve discovered Kidsmomo, I’m sure you agree. Har har.)

At any given time, I have approximately 1,268,934,570,934,743 books on my to-read list. Well, thanks a lot, World Wide Web, because now you’re distracting me from all of them! Why did you have to go and make the entire text of Five Children and It available for free online? Don’t you know I loved reading that book when I was a kid? Why do you torture me like this?!

Well, if I’m going to be tempted by this thing, then I’m sure as heck going to share my curse with you (and by “you,” I mean you the reader of this blog post; I’m not on speaking terms with the Internet any more). Everyone, just click here to get the full text of Five Children and It.

Not familiar with the book? I wouldn’t be surprised, since it’s pretty old. But then again, so am I, and I’m still completely breathtaking. HA!

But seriously, PLEASE don’t let my bad jokes turn you off from reading this book. It’s the first in E. Nesbit’s Psammead series, about five siblings who try to manipulate magic — usually with unexpected outcomes. It all starts when they meet a weird creature (the Psammead) that grants wishes. Hello, jackpot!

What follows are adventures involving sprouting wings and flying, defending a castle under siege, and keeping up with a baby who becomes a grown man. Throw in some stolen jewels, mistaken identities, and an 11-foot-tall boy, and you’ve got some very exhausted kids by the time the wishes wear off at the end of each day. And that’s just the first book in the series!

So check out Book 1: Five Children and It, and if you like it, definitely read Book 2: The Phoenix and the Carpet and Book 3: The Story of the Amulet. And then leave me a comment and tell me what you think!

(Btw, if you’ve read Edward Eager’s Half Magic, then the plot of Five Children and It may sound familiar. That’s because Five Children and It actually inspired Eager to write Half Magic and its sequels. And if I find out that those books are also available online, well, you’ll only be reading posts from Nancy for a while…)

— Karen


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