BookKids's Reviews > The House with a Clock in Its Walls

The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs
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Oct 25, 10

bookshelves: midgrade, fantasy, mystery, ghosts
Recommended for: ages 10 & up

When Lewis goes to live with Uncle Johnathon, a harmless white wizard, at his rambling rundown Victorian-style mansion, he is almost immediately annoyed by a strange ticking sound that he can hear in every room. Clearly there is a clock running somewhere in the house, but Lewis cannot seem to find it. It's as if the clock is behind the walls. It seems that before Uncle Johnathon, the house had been lived in by a pair of evil wizards determined to destroy the world. The hidden clock has something to do with bringing that day about. However, Lewis speeds up the process when he attempts to impress a neighborhood boy by raising a random dead spirit and instead unleashes resurrects one of the wizards. Blaming himself for the impending end of the world, Lewis determines to save the world instead.

There isn't a whole lot of Gothic tales for kids (Beautiful Creatures is a good example of Southern Gothic for teens), but this book is one of the best examples. The book has everything: ghosts, witches, doomsday, necromancy, and a realistic small town complete with a wonderful cast of characters and the wimpiest most reluctant hero you'll ever read. Sure, the book may have scared the pants off of me, but I still loved it.

Here at BookPeople, we recommend that book for kids ages 10 & up. It really is to scary for younger kids. I also wouldn't recommend a highly imaginative kid reading this after dark or as a bedtime read aloud. It has been known to give nightmares. Otherwise, this is a perfect Halloween read.
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