Review: The Wendy Project
I particularly adore when authors (and artists) take a (classic) work and they tear it apart and create something new—but recognizable. There’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, countless fractured fairy tales, and this year I read a dystopian version of Peter Pan. So picking up a copy of The Wendy Project was a natural choice for me.
The Wendy Project
By Melissa Jane Osborne. Veronica Fish, Illustrator.
Papercutz. 2017. ISBN 9781629917696 PBK, $12.99. 96pp.
Grades 7 and up
When Wendy is driving her two brothers Michael and John one evening they are in a terrible accident and the car goes off the road and into a lake. When Wendy wakes up in the hospital she learns that her brother, Michael has died. But Wendy won’t accept the news. She insists that her brother is still alive, taken away by a flying man. Given a sketchbook by her therapist, Wendy draws this Neverland. Is Wendy in the depth of grief or will she find out that her brother truly is alive?
Cleverly told, weaving in quotes from J.M. Barrie, the story is written so that readers are never sure if Wendy is imagining things to cope with her grief or if her story is true. The artwork is beautiful, evoking a sense of grief and fantasy. Fish uses black and white drawings with splashes of color that bring the images to life. Together the artwork and text work seamlessly to evoke a deep sense of sadness and loss.
This isn’t a run-of-the-mill story, and readers will likely feel a little confused at the end, but that will only make them want to go back and read it again.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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