A modern, middle-grade take on the Lewis Carroll classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that combines puns and wordplay with video games and computer terminology.
Sixth-grade smart aleck Alicia loves hacking into computers, and she’s the president of the Chaos Computing Club at her school. She never takes responsibility for anything she does, though, whether it’s losing her glasses or breaking a window; “It’s not my fault!” is her constant catchphrase. When she neglects to turn in her homework on time, she convinces her clueless teachers that computer-gnomes ate it and congratulates herself on getting away with a lie. But one evening, much to her surprise, real gnomes come out of her computer and take her through a hole in its camera—and into a virtual dream world. Alicia is transformed into a two-dimensional, miniature version of herself, trapped on the wrong side of the monitor. As she ventures deeper inside Computer Land, she meets the “bugs,” “worms,” “mice,” and other creatures that live there. She also inadvertently introduces a virus, hidden inside a real Trojan horse, which threatens to destroy the computer from the inside out. With the help of her avatar, White-Rabbit; her hacker friend, Caterpillar; and her video game–playing brother, Alicia must stop the virus before it erases her virtual self. She also learns how to take responsibility along the way. Vasquez Garcia (The Witch Narratives: Reincarnation, 2012, etc.) has created a zany mashup of elements from Alice and The Wizard of Oz, illustrated with well-known images from art and children’s literature, combined with pencil drawings. The story is crammed with clever puns based on computing terms, and a helpful glossary explains unfamiliar words (“spaghetti code”; “worm-flu”). Barreling forward at a frenetic pace, the nonsensical plot resembles that of a video game. However, its abrupt ending may leave readers wondering whether it was all a dream.
A fun middle-grade story that will appeal most to kids who already love computers.