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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
The Doors of AfterLater by Gary Pyle is a perfect read for fourth to sixth graders and grownups with the sense of adventure of the children they once were. It is a heartwarming and entertaining story of young Jack, a kid who is tired of living in a stressful, busy city. He always looks forward to summer with his grandmother on the farm. But his grandmother has disappeared and no one knows where she is. Jack thinks he knows where to find her, even if no one is going to believe him. Now he has to find the special door to the AfterLater. Follow him on this adventure filled with an unexpected twist and emotionally strong moments.
Gary Pyle’s book is beautifully written and well-illustrated. The dialogues are great and they introduce the element of intrigue into the story. I particularly enjoyed Jack’s conversation with the mice. The relationship between Jack and Gran is defined by a shared sense of adventure and exciting secrets. The author uses the epistolary style to introduce suspense into the story while expanding the plot. The letter that Gran leaves behind offers clues that only Jack can understand. As the readers read on, they want to find answers to the question: Which door has Gran opened this time, and what happens beyond that door. What is most interesting is what happens when Jack takes a deep breath and opens The Doors of AfterLater. This story is the perfect treat for young readers and I enjoyed the ingenuity with which the author explores themes of family and friendship. The contrast between city life and life on the farm is brilliantly established. Character development is impeccable and the skillful use of anthropomorphism enriches the characterization. Even after the last page is turned, readers will still think about the young boy and the special bond he has with his Gran and the rodents on the farm.