John'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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it was amazing

Just as good as I remember, this is the first in this particular series starring Lewis Barnavelt, Uncle Jonathan the wizard, Mrs. Zimmerman the witch, and Rose Rita) It gets a fifth star over the other two I just re-read for being just a little bit kookier. I like this one best, followed by Letter the Witch and the Ring, then Figure in the Shadows. This was the first of John Bellairs' books for young readers, and was apparently adapted from an original draft which was intended for adults. I think that as he continued to write for young people, Bellairs settled into a really nice spooky and magical style, but there is something especially witty and bizzare about this first one that sets it apart. Little touches, like the wardrobe with the magic painting that Uncle Jonathan enchants to display mayan ruins. This doesn't really figure into the plot, it's just there in the house. I love that Lewis is interested in arcane military history, and when given a chance to witness any historical event, chooses the retreat of the Spanish Armada around the tip of Scotland. And this book also contains this great bit:
"(Jonathan)...invented the fuse box dwarf, a little man who popped out at you from behind the paint cans in the cellarway and screamed, 'Dreeb! Dreeb! I am the Fuse Box Dwarf!' Lewis was not scared by the little man, and he felt that those who scream 'Dreeb!' are more to be pitied than censured."
It's little kooky things like that that really set this book apart from more conventional youth literature. I remember spending a whole morning reading this in 5th grade when I was home sick from school. I can see why I liked it so much. Many thanks to Mrs. Price (formerly Mrs. Kay) for introducing this author to my 4th grade class. Good taste. And thanks Kate for giving it to me to re-discover!
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 1, 2009 – Finished Reading
March 9, 2009 – Shelved

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