The Search for WonderLa by Tony DiTerlizzi is a fantastic journey for all ages. It is recommended for children from 9 to 12, but I think older children and parents can enjoy the book as well. The Search for WonderLa is about twelve year old Eva Nine, who has been raised in an underground facility, Sanctuary, and has only a robot companion, Muthr, for a parent figure and company. Eva is curious about the outside world and wants to explore desperately. Unfortunately, her wish is granted in an unexpected way. An intruder blasts his way into Eva’s home and forces her to flee for her life. However, the world outside of Sanctuary is not what Eva and her technology is prepared for and a wild journey begins. Eva makes strange new friends, faces danger and searches for the truth about her life and the fate of humans.
The Search for WonderLa is categorized as science fiction, and certainly has the technological aspects that make that genre the correct choice. However, those readers that do not generally enjoy science fiction should not dismiss this book because of it. This book is a great read, and reminiscent of a blend between Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz. There are strange creatures, technology, and powerful world building. However, there is also a journey for answers, growing friendships, and facing harsh realities.
I originally picked up this book from the stack of new arrivals at the library because of the cover and author’s name. The cover illustrations, and first page of each chapter inside the book, are wonderful images. The artistry is simply fantastic, simple yet whimsical at the same time. The author and illustrator for this work has a familiar name, Tony DiTerlizzi. He worked with Holly Black on the popular Spiderwick Chronicle series. The Search for WonderLa, and the series installments that are to follow, is different on several levels but still have the high quality of illustration and sense of wonder from the earlier series. The detail and creativity in each illustration is worth getting your hands on the book, even if you do not think you want to read it. The Search for WonderLa proves that Tony DiTerlizzi is a master of illustration and a wonderful author.
I highly recommend The Search for WonderLa for children of all ages. As I said above this book is market towards children from 9 to 12. However, I think that reading the book with younger children, perhaps a chapter a night at bedtime, or offering it to teens and adults is warranted. This is a great book from every angle and for every age group. I cannot wait to see what awaits Eva in the future.