The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Written By John Bellairs
“He held the book up to his nose. It smelled like Old Spice talcum powder. Books that smelled that way were usually fun to read. He threw the book onto his bed and went to his suitcase. After rummaging about for a while, he came up with a long, narrow box of chocolate-covered mints. He loved to eat candy while he read, and lots of his favorite books at home had brown smudges on the corners of the pages.”
I am so sad to find out that this book has been around almost as long as I have and I have never heard of it much less read it and the book series it inspired. In this book, Lewis Barnavelt comes to live with his uncle after the death of his parents. His uncle lives in a delightfully spooky mansion complete with magic and mysteries, the chief of which being the sound of a clock that can be heard ticking in the walls of any room of the house.
Lewis is overweight, socially awkward, and of course, the new kid so making friends, indeed just navigating the schoolyard, is a bit difficult for him. He finds a ray of hope in the halfhearted friendship with the popular boy Tarby and it is to keep this friendship that Lewis takes the actions that make this story flow as he tries to raise the dead on Halloween night.
I am not a huge fan of the art style, though it fits the literary style of the book perfectly. The story is wonderful in all the magical ways that a kid should enjoy such a mystery. My own son is currently plowing his way through the series. At least he won’t have any regrets about having missed it as a child. It is a great book for middle-grade readers but is also perfect for a Halloween scare for the younger reading circle/bedtime story crowd and honestly any teen or adult who has enjoyed books like a Wrinkle in Time will enjoy this story.