361R: Portal Fantasy Novel for Kids

I’m trying to find a book that I read when I was in elementary school.  Unfortunately, I don’t recall many helpful details about the book—including its title and author—but I do remember loving the book and recommending it to a non-reading friend who also loved it.  I would very much like to find it so that I can buy it for my daughter.

The following is all I can remember about the book:

–It is a portal fantasy novel about a boy and possibly also a girl who somehow enter another world in order to help save a troubled kingdom or land (not very unique, I know).

–The plot involves a castle, mountains, wolves, and a race against time.  Magical/mystical talking(?) wolves play a role in the book, from what I remember.  I believe they were either the antagonists or the servants of the antagonist.

–From what I remember of the cover, it has a white border or partial border around it with a colorful collage of images from the book against a dark background.  I believe that a castle, mountains, and wolves were all present in this cover collage.

–I checked out the book from my elementary school library when I was in either third or fourth grade, but I believe the target audience of the book is late elementary readers (4th to 6th grade?).

–I read this book in the mid-1980s (between 1983 and 1985?), so it was published prior to that.

–I do not think that it was recent publication at that time, though it wasn’t a very old book either.  My guess is that it was published between 1950 and 1985—probably in the 1970s.

–It is a fairly long chapter book (perhaps 200 to 300 pgs?).

–The copy I checked out from my library had a small trim size, but was fairly thick with small type.

–It was written and published in English, probably either from the U.S. or England.

–It is a stand-alone novel, not part of a longer series.

–I do not believe it is a well-known or famous book.  I have not, for example, run across it on lists of best fantasy novels of the 20th century.

–The title is strange, or, at the very least, not particularly appealing to an elementary school reader because I remember telling my non-reading friend to read it despite the odd title.

–I think the title might have the words in it like “nowhere,” “other,” “land,” or “world.”

–The letter “O” also stands out in my memory as an important part of the title.

11 thoughts on “361R: Portal Fantasy Novel for Kids

  1. Are you sure it’s not Silver Chair, which has a boy and girl going into another world and racing against time to save the true prince? It’s part of the seven-part Chronicles of Narnia.

    • The elements sound a little more like the earlier book in the series, THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, with the wolf Fenris Ulf. Though that has four children rather than two.

  2. Hi Lisa! Thank you very much for your suggestion, but I am quite certain that it is not The Silver Chair. I have read The Chronicles of Narnia many times, as well as most of the other major fantasy series of the 20th century, and, unfortunately, it isn’t any of those. I am pretty sure that it isn’t a well known novel. But, at this point, my memory of the book is rather vague. Thanks again for your suggestion though!

  3. Hi Lisa,
    Thank you very much for your suggestion, but I am certain that the book I am looking for is not The Silver Chair. I have read The Chronicles of Narnia many times, as well as most of the other major fantasy series of the 20th century, and that is not the right book. The one I am looking for is not part of a series and is not a famous novel, though my memory of its specifics are, admittedly, not clear. That being said, I appreciate your help!

  4. Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for your suggestion, but I am sure that the novel I am looking for is not The Silver Chair. I have read The Chronicles of Narnia many times, as well as most of the major fantasy series of the 20th century, and none of them are the book I am seeking. Though my memory of this text is unclear at this point, I am pretty sure that it is not a famous book. That being said, I appreciate your suggestion and your time.

  5. A Walk in Wolf Wood by Mary Stewart? It was published in 1980 but feels older than that. The wolf is actually not the bad guy, though.

  6. This sounds like it could be The Whispering Mountain by Joan Aiken? It’s a prequel to the Wolves Chronicles Series, but I think they can all stand alone without reading the others. It includes a boy and girl; a magic harp; an evil lord; underground worlds; pretty sure there are wolves since that’s part of the chronicles.

    The others in the series include The Wolves of Willoughby Chase; Black Hearts in Battersea and Nightbirds on Nantucket.

  7. “The Hero from Otherwhere” by Jay Williams, maybe? Two boys need to bind Fenris the wolf, which requires first finding three cords to make a braid (if I recall correctly, one was disguised as a curtain pull, and one was a bathrobe belt). It was read to me in 1991 – 2 when I was in fifth grade (copyright 1972), and it was the first (and still the only) book I ever submitted to a “does anyone recognize this book?!?!?!” resource.

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