Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans
As if being small for his age and also having S. Horten as his name isn't bad enough, now 10-year-old Stuart is forced to move far away from all his friends. But on his very first day in his new home, Stuart's swept up in an extraordinary adventure: the quest to find his great-uncle Tony--a famous magician who literally disappeared off the face of the earth--and Tony's marvelous, long-lost workshop. Along the way, Stuart reluctantly accepts help from the annoying triplets next door… and encounters trouble from another magician who's also desperate to get hold of Tony's treasures.
What an amusing little story for middle graders! There is a little of everything that any child could want in a book: magic, mystery, a fun villain, a hilarious side-kick and a smart boy as the protagonist.
There is a nice mood setting in the book which gives it a bit of an edge over other, similar middle grade novels. The setting seems benign, but there is an undercurrent of something darker, leaving us as uncomfortable about characters like Clifford and Jeannie as Stuart, the boy, seems to be. There are also many comedic moments, especially with the triplets that at first appear to be the bane of Stuart’s existence.
The writing is cute, sweet, and sure to capture children’s attentions. There are many twists and turns to the plot, making it something equally amusing for the adults that might read this to their children. Yes, it’s not wholly original. There is no groundbreaking going on in its pages, but it’s still clever and entertaining.
This is the first in a series, so if your children like it, be on the look-out for the next book, coming late 2012.