Any Which Wall
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Any Which Wall

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  309 ratings  ·  114 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...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Yearling (first published January 1st 2009)
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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!
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...more
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...more
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...more
Dustin George-Miller
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
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...more
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
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
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
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
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...more
Colby Sharp
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...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...more
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
I can with confidence award this gem four stars. This book is what I imagine it was like growing up Burton: discovering magic walls, scientifically determining how said magic worked based on books read, and being generally adorable.

Snyder pays sweet, snarkish homage to Edward Eager's magic books of old. But the snark is loving and winking without being over-the-top, mean or too grown-up. This is one of the first books I've read in a long time in which both kids and adults can appreciate the wink...more
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
Jul 11, 2011 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Skyped with author. Been wanting to read this for a while and finally got the chance. Lots of fun, really like how the kids focused on outdoor fun during the summer and of course going to the library!
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...more
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...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
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
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
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...more
Oct 09, 2009 Connie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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....!

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'...more
Like The Penderwicks, this book has a wholesome, timeless(or should I say "retro"?) feel. It's a fun and creative magical adventure, but the author's voice occasionally intrudes to talk about what the story is doing, sometimes through overt references to the genre or writing style.

But what else can an author do, if she's setting out to write an Edward Eager-style magical tale for kids today? If she didn't make her debts known, we'd criticize the book as derivative. So, in that sense, it works.

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.
This middle grade fantasy is a quick fun read which was written very specifically in the tradition of Edward Eager, whose books are cited several times in the text. Because I am lazy and not particularly good at reviewing, I'm referring interested parties to my sister's review on her blog ( I pretty much am of her mind on this one except I don't agree that the illustrations are appealing.. I found them unpleasantly cartoon-ish and distracting.
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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
More about Laurel Snyder...
Bigger than a Bread Box Penny Dreadful Seven Stories Up Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher

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