September 21, 2010 in Books

The WondLa Trilogy

“Reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke”–New York Times Book Review

“The Search for Wondla blew me away with its exquisite world-building and the mind-bending biodiversity of its fabulous creatures. But it was 12-year old Eva’s poignant journey to discover if she is the last of her species that captured my heart. Can’t wait for the sequel!” – Suzanne Collins, author of THE HUNGER GAMES

“The Search for WondLa, by Tony DiTerlizzi. This book makes me wish I could draw. From the co-creator of Spiderwick Chronicles, The Search for Wondla is a fabulous cross between sci fi and fantasy. A young girl, raised in an underground bunker by a motherly robot, is suddenly forced to the surface and finds that the world is radically changed — if it’s even the planet she thought it was. The story is fascinating by itself, but the illustrations add a whole new dimension to the adventure. Highly recommended.” – Rick Riordan, author of PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS

“I was knocked out by Tony DiTerlizzi’s novel… everything is described so thoroughly and fully that I felt like I was there. I think Tony’s extraordinary visual sense comes though here with words. Spiderwick was amazing; this goes so much further” –Joan Kindig, Associate Professor at James Madison University

“There is…wonder aplenty in this tense, chase-filled journey to engage young readers, plus twists for adult fans of Twilight Zone–styled stories. The bond between Eva and her friends is well drawn, and Otto, happily, is more than just a human in alien form. DiTerlizzi’s evocative, detailed pen illustrations, which have a retro Star Wars vibe, and interactive maps online, unlocked via Augmented Reality, contribute to a sense of adventure as Eva dives into the unknown”–Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative, accessible technologies combine with fanciful creatures to create perpetual wonder in this fast-moving narrative”–The Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Books

When a marauder destroys the underground sanctuary that Eva Nine was raised in by the robot Muthr, the twelve-year-year-old girl is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is searching for anyone else like her, for she knows that other humans exist, because of an item she treasures—a scrap of cardboard on which is depicted a young girl, an adult, and a robot, with the strange word, “WondLa.” Tony DiTerlizzi honors traditional children’s literature in this totally original space age adventure: one that is as complex as an alien planet, but as simple as a child’s wish for a place to belong.

Breathtaking two-color illustrations throughout reveal another dimension of Tony DiTerlizzi’s vision, and, for those readers with a webcam, the book also features Augmented Reality in several places, revealing additional information about Eva Nine’s world.


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
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

Shelf Awareness
☆ The three books that constitute Tony DiTerlizzi’s futuristic classic chart an unforgettable journey, masterfully told. Its conclusion is well worth the wait.

In The Search for WondLa, heroine Eva Nine appeared to be the last human in a world of creatures, raised in an underground Sanctuary by a robot. She learns there’s a city of humans when teenage pilot Hailey Turner takes her to New Attica in A Hero for WondLa. But the beautiful future promised her comes with a price. This final installment finds Eva and Hailey on the run from the warbots of visionary Cadmus Pryde, and the two are immediately in danger from a hungry beast in the wilds. Alongside this cinematic action, DiTerlizzi prepares readers for the moral dilemmas to come with his overarching themes of trust and truth. Eva and Hailey meet an artifact collector, Caruncle, an alien who joins them on their quest to prevent Cadmus Pryde and the otherworldly Loroc from enacting the Age of Man.

Eva Nine has matured in DiTerlizzi’s black-and-orange illustrations. Readers will detect her distress on the page, as she faces situations that call for sacrifice and evaluating her morality (“What is ‘right’? What might be ‘right’ for me may not be ‘right’ for you?”). Readers will cheer on Eva as her expression switches to determination during her final battle to preserve a harmonious coexistence between humankind and aliens. The end to Eva’s search for her WondLa is deeply touching. Victory has never looked this good. –Adam Silvera, children’s bookseller

Listen to award-winning actress, Teri Hatcher, read chapter 1:

Audio Excerpt

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TEACHERS! Click here to download a SEARCH FOR WONDLA/KENNY & THE DRAGON Discussion Guide (pdf format)
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