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The Search for WondLa Hardcover – September 21, 2010

Book 1 of 3 in the WondLa Series

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Search for WondLa (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416983104
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416983101
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best of the Month, September 2010: Tony DiTerlizzi's fantastically imaginative new middle grade novel, The Search for WondLa, combines old-fashioned storytelling with a highly original twist. Eva Nine is a curious and sensitive 12-year old, who has existed only in a subterranean home called Sanctuary, cared for by a robot named Muthr. Eva's great desire is to go aboveground, and her wish comes true, though not as she had imagined. On the surface, Eva goes in search of other humans--she has never met one--and soon meets both friend and foe. DiTerlizzi’s gorgeous black and white illustrations enhance the cinematic quality of his writing, and the book includes augmented reality maps where readers can follow Eva and her friends's travels in 3D. A surprising conclusion to this action-packed story of friendship and belonging will leave readers clamoring for more. --Seira Wilson

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Twelve-year-old Eva Nine is being raised by Muthr, a pale blue robot who is loving and maternal (she speaks in the sweet, unflappable tones of a 1950s sit-com mom), in an underground home on the planet Orbona. When a marauder destroys her home, she leaves Sanctuary in a quest to find other humans like herself. Aboveground she finds a fantastic and frightening world populated by malevolent wandering trees, a giant beast who is pursuing her, nasty sand-snipers, and more. With the aid of Rovender, a lanky blue creature with backward-bending knees, and Otto, a giant water bear with whom she can communicate telepathically, Eva faces many dangers, including capture by a taxidermist who wants to skin her in order to create a living fossil for display. This first book in the series concludes with her arrival at her destination in the ancient city of ruins. The abundant illustrations, drawn in a flat, two-tone style, are lush and enhance readers' understanding of this unique universe. In addition, augmented reality is used in three places. By holding up the page from the book to a webcam, an interactive map appears on the screen. Readers can watch as the landscape where Eva Nine is traveling unfolds. DiTerlizzi is pushing the envelope in his latest work, nearly creating a new format that combines a traditional novel with a graphic novel and with the interactivity of the computer. Yet, beneath this impressive package lies a theme readers will easily relate to: the need to belong, to connect, to figure out one's place in the world. The novel's ending is a stunning shocker that will leave kids frantically awaiting the next installment.Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Customer Reviews

Both my son and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and couldn't wait to get our hands on the second.
Abra M. Morris
I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves light scifi/fantasy and is either a young reader or, like me, enjoys reading these kind of books.
It's a great fantasy novel, it is slow at parts but there is a good amount of action and emotion to keep the pages turning.
Michael Salmon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By E. Ambrose on September 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
So I picked up a copy of The Search for WondLa, mostly because I wanted a nice light little read and the cover reminded me very strongly of the originals of L. Frank Baum's books.

I am quite happy to say that the prose was strongly reminiscent of the Oz books as well. The story centers on Eva Nine as she is raised in isolation by a robot named Muthr (multi utility task help robot). When her life is upended by an alien hunter, strange adventures ensue, mostly centering around trying to find other humans and/or avoiding Besteel the alien hunter. After getting turned out of her home, the Sanctuary, they go looking for other humans in an alien world full of trees that look and act like anemones and water bear creatures that have a limited telepathy with humans.

The science involved is as soft as silken tofu, but since it isn't the main focus of the narrative (outside of a means to describe the setting) it didn't bother me.The primary focus is on Eva, Muthr and the first alien they meet, Rovender Kitts, and how they interact with each other. The difference in parenting style between Rovender and Muthr is especially noticeable, with the one advocating experimentation and exploration while the other one does most of the cautioning. It makes for an interesting subtext and one can see how Eva uses both learned traits to get herself out of trouble and elude capture.

It has the wide eyed wonder of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz coupled with the bleak and lonely setting of the opening scenes in Wall-E, especially during the beginning. It never truly loses that sense of wonderment no matter what trials Eva and company face although serious tragedy and tough dicisions are treated with the gravity that they should be.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mary Kate on September 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Twelve-year-old Eva Nine has spent her entire life living in Sanctuary, an underground compound where she is cared for by the motherly robot, Muthr (Multi-Utility Task Help Robot). She's never met another human nor visited the surface and she longs to do both, dreaming of a world - and of the companionship and love to be found there - that she's only seen glimpses of on scraps of paper. When Sanctuary is attacked, Eva is forced to escape to the surface alone, where she soon finds that the reality of life there is more amazing and puzzling than she ever imagined. It is also far more dangerous.

We share Eva's wonder and astonishment as she views the night sky for the first time and understand her fear when she first feels the heat of the sun on her skin and panics, thinking it will burn her. And it is those two things - wonder and fear - that drive much of the story. Eva is smart and brave, caring, curious and resourceful, but she is also young and inexperienced. The controlled amounts of knowledge that have been passed down to her prove to be woefully inadequate as well as either inaccurate or deliberately false (or perhaps a mixture of the two). It seems that everything Eva sees and experiences just leave her (and us) with more questions. Author Tony DiTerlizzi has done a very good job of allowing readers to share Eva's confusion and to be in on each discovery right along with her.

Because I found Eva so likeable and engagingly real, I really cared about her and wanted to share her journey as she sought to discover just who, what and where she is. Though I found the writing just a bit clunky at times and occasionally wished for the pace to pick up (possibly because I really, REALLY wanted to know what was going to happen!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By lady_of_mercia on October 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A fine, highly imaginative story for, I estimate, 4th grade and up. The characters are interesting and varied, and the setting is lots of fun to wander around in, too. There is some similarity to the Oz books.

My only criticisms would be, first, faulty copyediting -- for instance, the past tense of "spit" is not "spit" (and you'd be surprised how much spitting goes on in the story; there were at least four instances, and all of them were wrong). As someone who learned how to write by emulating my childhood reading, this was painful to me. There were also sentence fragments that were not intentional.

And, second, I wish the author was a little more ... what's the best word? ... sensitive to word-craft. Too many times, in having a character react, he has them sneer. Really, how many times can characters sneer in one story? This is particularly jarring in the case of the "pure in spirit" heroine. I'm not sure I could pull off a sneer, and I've been out in the rough and tumble world a lot longer than Eva. This may be quibbling for most readers.

I have to add how marvelous and entrancing the art is ... I lingered over each drawing, and went back to look again after reading the book, examining the creatures, expressions, and wonderful imagination and detail in each one. Great art work is what really makes a book stand out. I absolutely loved the art.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michael Booth on October 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was on the lookout for a book which we could read together as a family and happened upon "The Search for WondLa" in the store. The summary on the book jacket looked interesting and the illustrations looked like they would grab the kids' attention. I was not disappointed on either of these points. Each day, we would read a chapter or two together and would get more and more wrapped-up in the story to the point that nobody could wait until it was "WandLa" time each day! The ending was emotional and satisfying (even my 9 year-old son was in tears) while making us anxious for the continuation.

In all, the author has done a fantastic job of creating a tale that is simultaneously enjoyable to a 5 year-old, a 9 year-old, and two grown adults.
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More About the Author


New York Times bestselling author and illustrator, Tony DiTerlizzi, has been creating books for over a decade. From his fanciful picture books like "Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure", "Ted" and "The Spider & The Fly" (a Caldecott Honor book), to chapter books like "Kenny and The Dragon" and the WondLa trilogy, Tony always imbues his stories with a rich imagination.

With Holly Black, he created the middle-grade series, The Spiderwick Chronicles, which has sold millions of copies, been adapted into a feature film, and has been translated in over thirty countries.

In 2014, he teamed up with Lucasfilm to retell the original Star Wars trilogy in a picture book featuring artwork by Academy award-winning concept artist, Ralph McQuarrie.

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