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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
An unusual name, stained and hand-me-down clothes, and a penchant for flowers and insects are what make Myrtle Hitchabocker different from other students of Parkside Intermediate. She fails to fit in, as the school bullies frequently remind her, subjecting her to cruel pranks to boot. Myrtle wishes she could blend into the ordinary student population, until the day she magically appears at Elsewhereville, a place unlike any she has ever seen. Here, being different is the norm; “fitting out” is considered more important than “fitting in.” Can the eccentric inhabitants and the bizarre rituals of the place make her appreciate and embrace her uniqueness? To find out, read Elsewhereville, written by Melanie J. Vogel and illustrated by Carry Lancaster.
Melanie J. Vogel chose a premise that is all too relevant for school-going children worldwide. Schoolground bullying, in the form of verbal and physical abuse, often leaves lifelong scars in the child’s psyche. Elsewhereville conveyed a powerful message that it is okay to be different from others. I loved the concept of an outlandish world where everything is topsy-turvy. Myrtle's escapades were reminiscent of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. The gossiping conifers, the rhinoceros-driven carriage, and the jealous cloud cousins created a magical atmosphere. I laughed out loud at the idea of celebrating every day as a Saturday, because who wouldn’t love the perpetual prospect of having a holiday the next day? Geared towards children aged 5-12 years, Elsewhereville is an engaging read with a fun-filled storyline that I would heartily recommend.