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Any Which Wall

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  382 Ratings  ·  127 Reviews
Four kids, a mysterious wall, and a good helping of common magic!

If you had a magic wall that could take you to any place and any time, where would you go? Would you want to visit castles and desert islands? Would you want to meet famous wizards, terrible pirates, beautiful queens, and dastardly outlaws? If so, then you are just like Henry and Emma, and Roy and Susan—and y
ebook, 256 pages
Published May 26th 2009 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2009)
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Mar 23, 2015 R.J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is actually a re-read; I've been reading it aloud to my 9-year-old son, because I remembered it fondly from my first, solo reading a couple of years ago. ANY WHICH WALL is a loving tribute to the delightful books of Edward Eager (HALF MAGIC, SEVEN-DAY MAGIC and the like), who was inspired in his turn by E. Nesbit -- so I think it safe to say that anyone who enjoys either Eager or Nesbit will find Snyder's modern-day take on the "Group of Bored Kids Find Magical Wish-Granting Thing, Have Zan ...more
May 12, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ANY WHICH WALL is an admirable volume in the "careful what you wish for" genre, perfect for fans of Edward Eager and E. Nesbit. If you like books about plucky children, and magic, and adventure, and summertime, and dogs, you will like ANY WHICH WALL.

And the illustrations by LeUyen Pham put WALL firmly into "modern classics" territory!
Feb 05, 2009 Betsy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One Sentence Review: Probably the most authentic tip of the hat to Edward Eager I've ever seen a middle grade novel attempt (though admittedly I never read Magic By the Book by Nina Bernstein).
Cheri Williams
In Laurel Snyder’s second middle-grade novel, Any Which Wall, long-time friends Henry, Roy, Susan and Emma are out of school for the summer and bored, bored, bored in their sleepy little town, until, hidden in an Iowa cornfield, they discover a mysterious wall—and an even more mysterious key.

“They pedaled forward slowly, and in a few minutes, the tall dark thing became a bigger dark thing. Finally it turned into a wall made of gray and black stones, heavy rough squares, each about the size of a
Nov 18, 2009 Raina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j, historical, funny
Put together a Narnia-like plot device, Neil Gaiman's quirky narrative voice, and a setting which combines the modern world with throwback innocence. Add time-travel, a couple of great secondary characters, episodic structure, and didactic magic.
This is good old fashioned storytelling fun. At first, I thought the plot might be a little cliche. Four kids (two boys, two girls - aged 6-12) discover a wall in the middle of a field which will transport them to other times and places. The narrative vo
Dustin George-Miller
Nov 22, 2012 Dustin George-Miller rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-w-kids
A delightful book for the early-to-middle grades. There's magic -- that's obvious -- but it manifests itself in a way that both inspires awe and logical deduction. Snyder really knows how to write for her audience, as she presents dilemmas that are age-appropriate, conundrums that are interesting but not predictable, and includes really wonderfully written treatises on the nature of magic and its relation to "every-day life." The idea of a magical wall in the middle of a cornfield evoked both aw ...more
Jul 07, 2009 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish that I could give half stars, because 3 seems too low a rating for such an entertaining book. Yet, overall Any Which Wall does not quite measure up to the books to which I've given 4 stars.

The novel kept me turning the pages with an always-advancing plot, and I was interested in the characters' growth (except for Henry, whose character lacked a clear arc). I would certainly recommend it to 10-12 year old who is into adventure.

Unfortunatetly, at times the novel slipped too much into metafi
Oct 30, 2009 paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
When you develop a team of siblings whose job it will be to solve a mystery, survive an adventure, or deal with magic, you have three choices. You can establish verisimilitude by making them sniping, squabbling siblings who insult each other and barely endure each other's company, like the Grace family in Tony DiTerlizzi's Spiderwick stories; you can make them react believably to danger and uncertainty by banding tightly together, viz the Baudelaire siblings, who are as supportive and encouragin ...more
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
Susan, Roy, Henry & Emma live in Iowa. It’s summer, it’s hot and they’re bored. They do have bikes though, so they take off exploring. They really don’t expect to have much happen, but riding bikes is at least more interesting than sitting on the porch bored and hot. Imagine their surprise when they find a mysterious brick wall rising up out of the middle of a cornfield.

The kids try to think of all the different reasons the wall might be there. Thinking about this is at least interesting and
Kristine Asselin
I won this book from a Goodreads contest last summer--it was a surprise treat to receive it in the mail (signed) from Laurel. She also included a sticker, and a bookplate for another book (BAXTER, THE PIG WHO WANTED TO BE KOSHER). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to pick up the book until the late fall.

I read the first few chapters in November. Laurel's writing reminds me of timeless middle grade adventures from my childhood, updated for today. I mean, two of the kids have cell phones, but they ride
May 03, 2009 Vania rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-shelf
Though Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder is not in my young adult realm it is still a fantasy book and on that I greatly enjoyed. Despite its appeal to younger kids this book is filled with magical and adventurous schemes. The story goes like this: Susan (the oldest) Roy, Emma (the youngest) and Henry find a massive wall beyond their houses in a field. Accidentally they find out that they can be transported anywhere. But before they figure the secret of the wall they have to figure out the rules o ...more
May 22, 2011 Caren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Ms. Snyder has set out to continue the everyday magic found in the books of Edward Eager, and she has succeeded magnificently. She acknowledges her debt to him by mentioning his books within the story, and by including him in the list of people she thanks for making this book possible. As in Mr. Eager's books, the magic happens to four children who are neighbors and friends. The magic is found quite by accident, and then its rules must be uncovered and understood. I love, love, love Mr. Eager's ...more
Colby Sharp
Jul 16, 2011 Colby Sharp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you would wish yourself to any place at any time how would you use that wish. In Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder four children find a wall that turns out to grant these wishes. Watching these children figure out how the magic works was tons of fun!

One thing that I struggled with in this book was separating the characters. I had no trouble keeping track of the oldest child Susan and the youngest Emily, but the two boys Roy and Henry kept getting mixed up in my head. This didn't effect the sto
Katie Boehmer
Any Which Wall is a book about four kids and their very eventful summer. In the beginning of the book, they decide to take a bike ride into the corn field down the street from their house. When they get into the corn field, Roy sees something that looks like a huge wall. As they get closer to the object, they realize that it is a wall. This is very surprising for them seeing that they go to the corn field all of the time, but have never seen the wall before. Then, Emma sees something shiny in t ...more
Aug 14, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Friends, magic, wishes, and old fashioned fun make this book a winner! Henry, Emma, Roy and Susan are wasting away their summer waiting for something exciting to happen when on a bike ride they discover a large dark wall, in the middle of a corn field. In a very Narnian event the children rest against it and in doing so mistakenly active the wall which whisks them immediately into a nearby soda shop. This happens to be the exact wish of Susan as she sat down to rest and they realize the potentia ...more
Monica Edinger
Charming read. My dad introduced my sister and me to Edgar Eager during our bedtime read alouds when we were very young. Later I happily read and reread his books (and those of his inspiration, E. Nesbit) on my own and then again to my students when I began teaching. So I was eager (pun intended) to read this title.

Snyder does a terrific job channeling Eager --- the voice is pitch perfect. So are the kids, their adventures, and the gentle humor. I did wonder about the narrator now and then --- t
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 10-14 year olds, boys & girls alike, traditional and homeschool class reading, book clubs
“Is it a boy’s book or a girl’s book?”, I wonder. is a fun book! And even the book tells us “ does matter. It matters a lot.” So next I wonder why this book is fun. Why is it different from the numerous adventure stories in the bookstore today? I’ve decided because it is true, sincere and pure fun. It is not the facade of fun had at the expense of the dignity of the characters or the reader. It’s the real thing. Without being “preachy” in any way, the author has taken us into ...more
Nov 29, 2010 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gscba-2011
Four friends from Quiet Falls, Iowa find a magic wall in a cornfield. Each child has the wall fulfill their magical wish of time travel. Susan, the oldest, wishes to see her best friend Trish again. Emma, the youngest at six, wishes to see a Queen. Henry and Roy wish to see pirates and the American Frontier. This sweet, innocent novel will bring the adult reader back to simpler times of childhood and the younger reader an appreciation of finding magic in the ordinary. The message of finding ones ...more
One of the strangest things about reading children's books as an adult is trying to shut off your adult brain. Most of the time, it's easy enough. This is a funny, fun and quick little book that sort of winks at itself and the question of fate, free will and time. Kids will like it because it has to do with magic, time travel and kids being clever enough to save themselves (I myself liked it for those very reasons). A lot of the time, I felt the dialogue was a little bit false -- grownups talkin ...more
recommended for E510 @ Chase Academy

In the vein of Edgar Eager (A Knight's Castle): Four kids discover magic that leads them to a variety of fantastic adventures. The magic is never really explained, but that's no biggie. The premise of a magical wall that transports you to places offers a lot of inspiration terms of creative thinking/writing. There's some room for thematic discussion about growing up, independence, the power of belief & magic, etc., but I think most teachers will probably
Oct 18, 2010 Emmag. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! Why? Because it may be short but the author found a way to fit in all of Susan, Emma, Roy, and Henry's adventures into 244 pages. Also because it is a very simple book in some ways but very complicated in others, if you realy think about it. My favorite part was the chapters about the 'pirate'. I liked it because it was one of the longest adventures that they had and it really suprised me that when Henry wished to go to the house of the worst pirate in the world that the wall ...more
Dec 13, 2013 Elle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Any Which Wall, Laurel Snyder,
This book is all about four kids who find magic. They learn to get along and to be creative. On their adventures with their magic wall they discover true friendship, how to care, and of course how to get along. They never know what is coming next until it happens, but they do have some great times. They get to meet the baddest pirate in the world, a criminal, a wizard, and a huge dog. Also, Susan, the oldest of the group, gets to see an old friend and visit New Yor
Oh, this is good. It's kind of amazing how Snyder manages to get that whole mid-century kids-let-loose-for-the-summer vibe, while writing a contemporary story. It's the same trick that makes the The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy so appealing. I guess it's just magic.
Apr 13, 2011 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is sort of a tribute to Edward Eager's delightful "Half Magic" (which I recommend, by the way). Four children discover a magic wall which dispels their summer boredom, and, of course, they learns some lessons along the way. It's not as original as Half Magic (because, as the author will admit, she stole ideas from it), but it's lots of fun and kids will enjoy it. I appreciate books like this that entertain without using bad language or crude behavior, and have plenty of adventure and e ...more
Sep 11, 2013 Jacqueline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually don't like books where the writer addresses the reader directly but it worked for me in this book. This was a delightful fantasy. I loved the way the magical adventures did not work out as expected. The interaction between the kids was especially nice. They looked out for each other and cooperated in an amiable and believable manner.

Favorite quote:
"You must think of life as a hallway filled with different doors. You are sure to see all the doors, but what happens to you at each turn d
Oct 08, 2009 Connie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ramarie Beaver
Shelves: j-fantasy, 2009
Initially I was indecisive as to whether to give this 3 or 4 stars! I finally enthusiastically settled on 4 since I did "really like" this quaint and gentle fantasy which blatantly channeled Edward Eager. Maybe it's because Henry, Emma, Roy and Susan remind me of my own childhood friends and the magic we could find in our own neighborhood. Plus, it reminds me that the magic of childhood is as real as we would like it to be no matter what our age. Now if I could only find that wall....!

Apr 28, 2010 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, youth, fantasy, 2010
One summer day four bored kids discover a magic wall in an Iowa cornfield that can transport them to other times and other places.

Fantasy...adventure...magic (even Merlin makes an appearance) should like this book. But they seem to not be picking it up because of the cover design. The cover color choices and graphics make this title look like historical fiction...or ???? I like the artist, who also did the illustrations for the Alvin Ho books, but the cover may be off-putting to the book'
This was a fun book! Four kids (a sister and a brother and a brother and a sister) find a wall in the middle of Iowa on summer day. It turns out that this is a magic wall. The kids can wish they were somewhere else while touching the wall--and they are where they wished. A fun book to read aloud to youngsters who love the idea that magic and imagination can still be the most enjoyable part of summer vacation.
Nov 30, 2010 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Megan by: Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee
Four children (two sets of siblings) discover a magical wall that will transport them to any place they wish. Their adventures include a trip to Camelot, a visit to the son of Blackbeard, a journey to the Old West, and a trip to NYC. The kids are genuinely nice and have typical brother/sister relationships--looking out for each other but not always getting along. The narrator occasionally addresses the reader, but not in a snarky way. This would be a fun family bedtime read-aloud.
May 28, 2009 Joenna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book! There wasn't really a plot to it, but still worked really well. In the middle of an Iowa cornfield, four children find a magic wall that enables them to travel through time and space. Each child gets to make a wish of a place they want to visit and inclues Merlin in Camelot, NYC, a pirate's house, and a prairie town.

This book makes me want to be a kid again with the possibility of magic and imagination.

The illustrator does the Alvin Ho books.
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Laurel Snyder is the author of five children's novels, "Seven Stories Up," "Bigger than a Bread Box," "Penny Dreadful," "Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains OR The Search for a Suitable Princess" and "Any Which Wall" (Random House) as well as six picture books, "Nosh, Schlep, Schluff," "Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher," "The Longest Night," "Camp Wonderful Wild," "Good night, laila tov," an ...more
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