Reviews /

Which Way to Anywhere

Authored by Cressida Cowell
Published by Hachette Children's Group

Tagged , , , , , ,

Magic no longer exists on Earth, banished and forgotten thanks to human cynicism and a lack of care. Only the O’Hero family still retain the secret and are able to harness it, but this comes at a price…

The O’Hero family consist of K2, an introvert; Izzabird, a confident, chatty optimist; Theo, a boy of remarkable intelligence, and Mabel, the youngest, and full of kindness. Four children that all play a part in the story, and four children in whom readers will see something of themselves. The fifth child, Annipeck, is just a baby, but has an important role to play.

In Which Way to Anywhere, K2’s abilities are what take us on a journey, for it is he who is able to draw maps that come to life, opening a portal (a ‘Which Way’) to wherever it is he has drawn. However, this ability is frowned upon by those from other worlds, and K2 (and his ability) is hunted. This leads to an encounter with the  Dhalesque  villain of Cyril Sidewinder, a hapless robot called Puck, and a secret assassin named Horizabel.

Annipeck is kidnapped, so K2 and his siblings leap through his map in order to find and rescue her. The action is fast, the humour is faster, and the story is a testament to the power of imagination. Which child would not want to travel into the map they have created? What worlds could we create ourselves? As a father, I can imagine sharing this with my children and having excited conversations about where we could go; as a teacher, this book could stimulate all kinds of creativity, a subject that Cressida Cowell has passionately spoken about in her time as the Children’s Laureate.

I especially liked the fact that K2, seen by others as weak or lacking confidence, is the one who holds the key to everything. I like an underdog, and I like that this story gives a voice to the quiet children. All told, this is a joyous adventure that has a boundless energy and would be well received by lots of children in Key Stage Two.