Over the Wall

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Over the Wall Book Poster Image
Girl searches for brother in exciting fantasy graphic novel.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Over the Wall  is set in a fantasy world with a made-up mythology, so there's not much to take away that's applicable to our world, except for positive messages about persevering and the value of family.

Positive Messages

Stay loyal to what's important: family and friends. Don't give up, even when things get tough or scary. If you stay focused on your goals in spite of your fears, you can achieve anything.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Heroine Anya's age isn't given, but she seems to be around 12. She's brave, clever, resourceful, loyal, and conscientious. The only other human character is her 16-year-old brother, who's lost his memory and is mostly led by Anya throughout the story. Toris, the helpful demon she befriends, models doing the right thing even when he's labeled a traitor for it.


The only violent incident happens when Anya pokes bad-guy demon Mogis in the eye with a stick. The stick in the eye is shown in a stylized image, without gore, and with what looks like smoke or steam coming from the injured eye. Anya's then depicted holding the stick with something on the end of it that's not detailed. Earlier she encounters a human skeleton, and the close-up of the skull could frighten younger readers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's not much to worry about in the graphic novel OVER THE WALL, a fantasy adventure without much text. There's a close-up of a scary skeleton, and a bad-guy demon's eye gets poked out with a stick. There's no strong language, drug or alcohol use, or sexual content. Heroine Anya is a great model of courage, loyalty, intelligence, and perseverance.

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What's the story?

Anya's brother fails to return from his coming-of-age quest on the other side of an enormous wall built around an ancient city. She determines to leave home on her own, cross the wall, and find the brother whose name she can't remember anymore. On the other side of the wall, the ancient city is now populated only by demons. There she meets the helpful guide Toris, and has to face down her fears in the form of the giant Mogis to bring her brother home.

Is it any good?

OVER THE WALL, a graphic novel debut by Peter Wartman, is an exciting fantasy adventure kids will really enjoy. The pen-and-ink illustrations create an eerie, moody atmosphere that contrasts nicely with the engaging heroine Anya's pluck. Wartman is particularly skilled at conveying emotion without words in Anya's expressive face, which makes her easy for kids to relate to, and at economically conveying a rich, fully realized fantasy world.

There's not much text here, so kids who love lingering over the illustrations will get the most out of it. But Anya and Toris, the helpful demon, share some funny dialogue, too. The end is rather abrupt, and the reader's left feeling a bit unsatisfied. Even though the plot's resolved, a lot of questions are left to the imagination. A sequel is in the works.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why fantasies are so popular. Why do we enjoy them so much?

  • Do you like the illustrations? Do they tell the story clearly? What about the words? Do they help the story along, or get in the way of telling the story?

  • Has a friend or loved one close to you died or moved away? What things are easiest to remember about them? What things about them are harder to remember?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy stories and strong girl characters

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