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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2012
Series: Enchanted Attic
Linus and Julia Easterday find themselves in the strangest situations. Repeatedly. And its their own fault. "How many other kids our age have Natty Bumpo living in their attic?" Linus complains. And yet, how many other twelve-year-olds know Quasimodo and the Count of Monte Cristo personally? It all began when Linus and Julia, fraternal twins, moved in with their Aunt Portia and Uncle Augustus after their lepidopterologist parents journeyed to the newly discovered island of Stu (named after its discoverer, Stu Cranston, of Hohocus, New Jersey) for at least five years to study never-before-seen butterflies. Aunt Portia and Uncle Augustus Sandwich run an antiquarian bookshop. Seven Hills Rare Books attracts customers as eccentric as its owners. (If Aunt Portia, who wears a tiara in her fuzzy, apricot colored hair, thick glasses and cowboy boots, can be considered eccentric. We wont get into Uncle Augustus. He does, however, drink a lot of tea, eat a lot of sandwiches, and tends to talk with Jesus at any time even if you happen to be standing in front of him.) Seven Hills, housed in a three story stone townhouse, was once a magic shop owned by second-rate magician Harvey Blackstone. What most people who inhabited Rickshaw Street didnt know was that behind the dusty front window arranged with faded top hats, dusty wands, and scattered cards, Harvey Blackstone conjured up something truly magical. So magical he disappeared one night. About a month after the children moved in with their relatives, they discovered Harveys magic laboratory through a hidden door in the closet of the back bedroom of the third floor. A circle had been burned into the middle of the scarred wooden floor. As it happened, Julia decided to read up there one night when she couldnt sleep. Shed reclined on the couch and fell asleep while reading her Bible and occasionally sneaking a peek at a novel. As happens sometimes, her arm flopped to the side and her book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, dropped onto the floor. At 12:03 a.m., the circle began to glow, then pop and hiss and spark like fireworks. Julia woke with a start. At 12:05 a.m. the sparks settled down and there sat Quasimodo and my goodness, he wasnt happy at all. Or perhaps he was simply scared to death as he had not yet gotten out of his bell tower and suddenly, poof, there he is in the twenty-first century. How long the visitor stays depends on how fast Julia can read the book, cover to cover. If its a doozie like Les Miserables, matters can get quite sticky, and believe you me even the shorter books give the twins a great deal of trouble. Imagine having the Frankenstein monster around even for just a day. The bulk of the story is the childrens: how they deal with a raging sea captain in present day, how they manage to get a hunchbacked recluse into the sunshine or a babbling Danish prince to the psychiatrist and what lessons they take into life.
L.L. Samson lives in Kentucky and has been writing for longer than anyone needs to know. Suffice it to say, L.L. has been reading even longer, loves to do it, and hopes you will too! Chickens, children, and a cat live in Lexington with L.L. and spouse, Will Samson, who writes too. Despite this, its difficult to find a pen in the house.
Cara PutmanIndianaAge: 35-44Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5September 17, 2012Cara PutmanIndianaAge: 35-44Gender: femaleFinding interesting fiction for tweens can be tricky. This new series by L.L. Samson (AKA Lisa Samson) does just the trick. The concept is that three kids (13 y.o. twins and a 14 y.o.) join forces to help story characters find their way back to their story worlds.
In this first installment, Ophelia, Linus, and Walter interact with Quasimodo from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. While the original isn't necessarily a book I'd read with my 11 and 8 y.o.s, we were all engaged in this story that tied the story to a new framework. The narrator, a college janitor, peppers the story with big words, ideas, and literary instruction, but does it in a way that broadens the reader's understanding and is still engaging. There's a taste of magic to pull Quasi from Paris to Kingscross. The chapter titles are fun reminding me of the Percy Jackson series. And the chapters are short with exceptional cliffhangers that left my kids begging for just one more chapter.
At the same time, reading a couple three chapters a day wasn't enough for my daughter, who disappeared with the book because we were too slow. We enjoyed this book so much that I've purchased the second -- Moby Dick -- and we're all eagerly awaiting the next adventure of Ophelia, Linus, and Walter.
Jill WilliamsonOregonAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5A clever premise for a series!July 28, 2012Jill WilliamsonOregonAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5Twelve-year-old twins, Ophelia and Linus move in with their aunt and uncle and discover an old laboratory hidden in the attic. While Ophelia is reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame, she unintentionally activates one of the old scientist's inventions that transports Quasimodo into the present! It's then that the twins and their friend discover that the old scientist wants to capture Quasimodo, and the three kids do all they can to protect their literary friend and get him back into the book where he belongs.
What a clever premise for a series! You get a group of kids, a famous classical fictional character, and an adventure. I liked the characters a lotÃ¢â¬âall of them. They were unique and fun. The story was told from a narrator who teaches the reader the definitions of big words and about the craft of writing as he tells the story. That did become a bit distracting at times. Along with the narrator, Ophelia is the big reader in the tale. Many references to classics were mentioned throughout the story, most of which will go over middle grade reader's heads, but they won't mind because they'll be caught up in the tale. For being put out by Zonderkidz, a Christian publishing house, I didn't notice a faith element in the story, which seemed odd. I did notice that two more books are planned involving the classics Moby Dick and The Three Musketeers. Looking forward to them!
IolaNew ZealandAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Fun and Educational KidsÃ¢â¬â¢ StoryMay 22, 2012IolaNew ZealandAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5In Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame, fourteen-year-old twins Linus and Ophelia Easterday have been left to live with their aunt and uncle (also twins) in Kingscross, home of the famous (fictional) Americal university, while their parents go on a five-year research trip to do something important (well, something they think is important, anyway).
While exploring the old house they are now living in, Linus and Ophelia find a hidden attic filled with the belongings of the mysterious Cato, who used to own the house before he simply disappeared one day. The attic has a lot of strange books and bottles, and a large circle has been drawn on the floor. An Ã¢â¬Ëaccident' with a magic circle brings the fictional Quasimodo out of the classic Victor Hugo novel and into the Real World.
The twins find that Quasi will be with them for sixty hours, and that if they do not follow instructions exactly, he might end his days fizzing down to a pile of dirty rags. As they befriend the fictional hunchback, they find someone else knows about him, and wants to harm him. So, they join with Walter, their new neighbour, to protect Quasi and return him unharmed to fictional Paris (and providing the reader with the formulaic two boys-one girl mystery-solving trio that has worked so well in other series for this age group).
I don't read a lot of Middle Grade fiction, so I'm not entirely sure what represents the best of the genre (although having read a few of the High School Musical, Hannah Montana and Mary-Kate and Ashley books, I have a good understanding of how shallow and trite MG fiction can be). I enjoyed Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame for what it was: a fun adventure story for 8-12 year olds, with a little classic literature and a few thoughts on good writing thrown in for educational value.
Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame is a humorous and enjoyable story that would be a good book for reading aloud, and I can see it fitting well into a home schooling curriculum. There is even the odd interjection for the sake of the parents, and this humour, combined with the distinctive voice of the narrator (Bartholomew Inkster, janitor at Kingscross University) reminded me of Roald Dahl. There are a few too many exclamation marks for my taste, but I suppose it is the distinctive voice of the narrator and the age group the book is targeting.
Although it is published by Zondervan, Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame is not an obviously 'Christian' novel, but it is a fun read, with a plot device that is well set up for a series (it is Book 1 of The Enchanted Attic series).
Thanks to Zonderkidz and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.