My 12 year old daughter has read this book by Trenton Lee Stewart so many times, I finally succumbed to seeing what it was all about, and we listened to it in the car together. Recently, we made more progress on it than usual when we were caught in a colossal traffic jam as we drove to pick up my oldest daughter from the capital, after a successful 4H State Citizenship Day that she had spearheaded. Anyway, if you are ever in such a bad traffic jam, I hope you have something this good to listen to, as it will render the inconvenience a pleasure.
Basically in this young adult book, four orphans save the world. The story is an original one, and the evil to be avoided is imaginative and just enough unnerving. The intelligence and resourcefulness of the kids is heartening, and there are many insights to ponder.
The characters are unique with various foibles and differing personalities, talents and strengths. Kate with her bucket that she takes everywhere so she is perpetually ready for action, nervous Sticky with his photographic memory incessantly polishing his glasses, sincere Reynie going to sleep by writing mental letters to his dear tutor Miss Paramal, Constance being caustic, cantankerous and contrary, forgetful SQ Pedalian with his blundering big feet, Number Two always hungry and always eating, and Mr. Benedict with his green plaid suit and his fits of narcolepsy… are all likable. Martina Crow, on the other hand, you enjoy disliking, and Mr. Curtain is the villain that has devised the “improvement.” And you don’t want Jackson or Jillson to have to take you to the “Waiting Room!”
The ending struck me as a bit abrupt, since the climax is so close to the end, and we took a long time getting there. But I already know there is a sequel, and I’m looking forward to it coming out on CD.
I give this book five stars; it could make even reluctant readers avid.