Cheshire Crossing
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Release Date: July 7, 2019
Price: $14.99 pb
Creators: Andy Weir, author; Sarah Andersen, artist
Format: Trade paperback, color, 128 pages, 7” x 10”
ISBN: 978-0399582073
Age Rating: “middle grade readers and up” per publisher
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

The themes in this story are not new. Authors of text and graphic works have previously examined the idea of kids coming back from magical adventures and then having to grow up in the “real” world, with all of the problems this creates. In this case, Andy Weir’s work was intended as fan fiction on his website, but once he became well-known for The Martian, people noticed that rough version and wanted it to be published. A publisher was found, and Sarah Andersen, creator of Sarah’s Scribbles, was hired. Her delightfully weird webcomic has been turned into a series of books, giving her name an extra bit of clout for this project.

This is not the best writing that Andy Weir has done, but it is by far my favorite Sarah Andersen artwork. I was startled by the difference from her webcomic work. This is much more detailed, and although still not perfect, it was just right for some truly weird moments in the story, which bounces from one world to another at a dizzying pace.

The story is based on bringing together Wendy, Alice and Dorothy several years after their famously-recounted stories in Neverland, Wonderland and Oz. They are gathered by a scientist who believes in magic and other worlds, and who has hired a nanny for them who is not at all what she seems, and is also possibly still under copyright, so her name is not used in this story. A revived Wicked Witch, Captain Hook, Tinkerbell, the Cheshire Cat and a host of other characters are part of this story.

The violence, mild sexual innuendo and fake cursing may put this into the middle school collection range, but kids and adults who have read Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and A Wizard of Oz will find a lot to appreciate. There are some funny quotations slipped in. There are too many unanswered questions and plot holes to give it a fifth star, though. It does give a delightful new side to Andy Weir’s writing, though.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.