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Literature / Welcome To Wonderland

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Welcome To Wonderland is a Children's Literature series by Chris Grabenstein.

P.T. (Phineas Taylor) Wilkie is the luckiest kid in the world. He gets to live in the best place on earth with his mom and his grandpa... the Wonderland Hotel in St. Pete. And he loves it. The Hotel was originally a small-time amusement park called "Walt Wilkie's Wonder World" when his grandpa opened it for business in October 1970 (exactly one month before Disney World opened in Orlando). Now it's a motel with a whole bunch of statues, and a load of stories to tell. There's Morty Mouse, the sausage-and-cheese-loving mouse, Dino The Dinosaur, Pirate Pete at the Putt-Putt course, Freddy the Frog slide, and most recently, the Hawaiian Happy Stinky Fruit. Plus, there's amenities like free poolside ice cream, and a vending machine in the living room (okay, the hotel lobby).

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So, yeah, the Wonderland is pretty much the best place to be. And P.T. couldn't imagine living anywhere else.

The series has four books.

  • Home Sweet Motel (2016)
  • Beach Party Surf Monkey (2017)
  • Sandapalooza Shake-Up (2018)
  • Beach Battle Blowout (2019)


Welcome To Wonderland contains examples of:

  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: The man from the bank who visits the Wonderland in "Home Sweet Motel" is named Mr. Pompano. He prefers his name be pronounced "Pom-PAN-o".
  • Alliterative Name: P.T.'s mom is named Wanda Wilkie.
    • There's also Sydney and Stanley Sneemer in "Home Sweet Motel".
    • Then there's P.T.'s grandfather, Walt Wilkie.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: P.T.'s grandpa's favourite drink is Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Soda. It's soda that tastes like celery.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Most characters in the illustrations have their eyes like this.
  • Broken Pedestal: P.T. loses all respect he had for Travis in "Sandapalooza Shake-Up" when Travis says he couldn't be P.T.'s father because his mother isn't her type.
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  • Chekhov's Gunman: P.T.'s friend Jack Alberto becomes one in "Sandapalooza Shake-Up". At one point, he suggests to P.T. and Gloria that that they host a metal detector treasure hunt on the beach. Near the end, he and his metal detector are used to find the Twittleham Tiara inside the sand sculpture Travis and Darryl built.
  • Cool Old Guy: P.T.'s grandpa, Walt. He founded the motel as a small amusement park, and is always looking to get new statues for the motel.
  • Disappeared Dad: P.T.'s father isn't around. P.T. began to suspect Jimbo might be him at the end of "Sandapalooza Shake-Up", but Jimbo shoots that down near the beginning of "Beach Battle Blowout", saying he and his mom were just friends.
  • Disappointed in You: Gloria tells P.T. she's disappointed in him in "Beach Battle Blowout" because P.T. made Dill throw his Frolf match against Geoffrey just because he's a judge's son.
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  • Dung Fu: Kevin the Monkey takes to throwing his own poop whenever he gets mad. He does it thrice in "Beach Party Surf Monkey". First he throws it at Aiden Tyler when he demands Kevin be fired from the movie, and then he throws it all over Room 1313 of the Conch Reef Resort where Veronica Conch was keeping him to remove him from the movie, and at Veronica Conch herself.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: "Beach Party Surf Monkey" features Kevin the Monkey, a YouTube star who's videos help support the primate sanctuary he stays at. He is one of the stars of a movie being filmed at the Wonderland Motel.
  • Evil Old Folks: Sydney and Stanley Sneemer are a couple of old guys who pulled off a jewel heist in 1973. Now they've come back to collect their loot.
  • Fat and Skinny: Sydney and Stanley Sneemer respectively in "Home Sweet Motel".
    • There's also Darryl and Travis respectively in "Sandapalooza Shake-Up".
  • Missing Mom: In "Home Sweet Motel", it's revealed that Gloria's mother died five years prior. They were living in Scranton at the time.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: P.T. Wilkie's full name is Phineas Taylor Wilkie. He was named after P.T. Barnum.
  • The Prima Donna: Aidan Tyler in "Beach Party Surf Monkey" is revealed to be this in the middle of the book, when he can be heard berating Gloria for letting blue M&Ms melt over the green ones.
  • Reality Ensues: In "Home Sweet Motel", P.T. and Gloria put together a pirate treasure hunt in hopes of drumming up business for the motel. Countless people take part in the hunt, bringing in a lot of business. However, when trying to get endorsements from local businesses for their next big idea (a dinosaur egg hunt), they find out that the treasure hunt had some drawbacks. Namely...
    • They ended up stealing customers from said local businesses.
    • The motel's parking lot filled up quickly, so some treasure hunters parked in the other businesses' lots.
    • So many people came for the treasure hunt that traffic was backed up all the way to the Corey Causeway.
    • All the activity on the beach (where P.T. and Gloria buried their pirate treasure) scared off half the IHOP's customers.
    • The noise even scared off one of their own customers, who complained that it woke up their baby.
    • Finally, Mr. Frumpkes called the police about it, and they issued a cease-and-desist warning against the Wonderland Motel, and to keep all future events like the hunt on their property.
    • In "Beach Battle Blowout", P.T. sets up a Frolf course on the Wonderland's property in the hopes of adding more exciting attractions. The final Frolf pole was on the beach in a sandcastle that they have to zip line down. However, Mr. Frumpkes calls the police about it, and the police inform P.T. that, since the pole isn't on the Wonderland's property, they have to take it down.
  • Red Herring
    • In "Home Sweet Motel", P.T. and Gloria read Stanley's and Sidney's postcards from Gloria to search for clues. Part of Stanley's reads "Stanley-you think you're such a big, big man. Always smiling! Ha! If you ask me, you're all empty inside." Sidney's has a part that says "if you're not afraid of hurting the big, empty-headed man.". They deduce from those lines that Sheila hid the diamonds in the Smilin' Sam statue. So, one night, they go over to it and drill some holes in one of its feet in hopes of finding the diamonds. They don't find any, and get caught by P.T.'s mom.
    • In "Beach Party Surf Monkey", P.T. and Gloria assume Aiden Tyler kidnapped Kevin the Monkey and is holding him in his suite. This is backed up by Aiden ordering a lot of bananas. Of course, it turns out that Aiden's girlfriend was told by some nutrition guru to eat nothing but bananas for her diet.
  • Snooping Little Kid: P.T. Wilkie hid and listened in on other peoples' conversations quite a bit in "Home Sweet Motel". It's how he learns that Mr. Pompano and Arnold want to tear down the motel and build a bunch of condos on the land, and how he and Gloria learn that Johnny and Bob Jones are the Sneemer Brothers, and that they've returned to the Wonderland to find the diamonds Sheila hid after the diamond heist they pulled back in 1973.
  • Tattooed Crook: Sydney Sneemer has a crocodile tattoo on his neck, and was involved in a jewel heist in 1973.
  • Teen Idol: "Beach Party Surf Monkey" has Aidan Tyler, teen heartthrob and one of the co-stars in the movie being filmed at the Wonderland. As Gloria finds out, he's rather difficult to work with.
  • Throwing the Fight: In "Beach Battle Blowout", P.T. asks Dill to intentionally lose the Frolf game to Geoffrey. The reason being that, since Geoffrey is the son of one of the judges, Geoffrey winning and having fun would increase the Wonderland's chances of winning the first round of judging.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: In addition do Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Soda, P.T.'s grandpa also likes eating mustard and baloney sandwiches. He justifies this as having a preference for softer food due to his age.
  • Treasure Map: In "Home Sweet Motel", P.T. and Gloria plan out a treasure hunt to drum up business for the motel. As part of it, they make a treasure map on some old stationary, and photocopy it to sell to the treasure hunters at five bucks a pop.
  • Twinkle Smile: Gloria's father is usually seen sporting a twinkling smile.
  • You Remind Me of X: Edward Conch says this about P.T. Wilkie in "Beach Party Surf Monkey" in regards to P.T.'s money-making activities. This admiration makes his daughter want to one-up P.T. by sabotaging the movie being filmed at the Wonderland, and bringing a new production of it starring Aidan Tyler to the Conch Reef Resort.

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