Abby in Wonderland, the 11th installment of the Whatever After Series by author Sarah Mlyanowski is an exciting addition to her fractured fairy tale retellings. Granted, Alice in Wonderland isn’t exactly a fairy tale, but with fanciful characters and imaginative settings, it might as well be, and Abby and her friends literally stumble into this story. Normally, Abby enters the stories with her brother; however, this time it’s with three other girls: two who are her BFFs and one she can barely tolerate. This leads to the underlying lesson that Abby has to learn before she can get out of the story. As they go around trying to find what they are supposed to ‘swallow’ per the advice of the Cheshire cat, Abby learns she also has to swallow her pride and learn to get along with Penny and maybe see her perspective a little. This little lesson gives this novel a little more depth than your typical fairy tale retelling geared to this young age group.
Abby in Wonderland is certainly capable of standing alone. I was able to follow the story without having read any of the other novels in the series. That being said, this would be a wonderful series for any young precocious reader jumping into chapter books, as the story lines are familiar.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic Press (A Scholastic Imprint)
Violence/Gore: Slightly frightening scene where characters fall into a mysterious hole; characters are told that the queen likes to behead people or that they will be beheaded for doing something (2); characters have rocks thrown at them by rabbits; characters are pecked at by birds; characters are taken prisoner by playing cards.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death of family member.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Caterpillar smokes a pipe.