Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Something Wickedly Weird Wins

Something Wickedly Weird: The Wooden Mile by Chris Mould

Right off the bat let me say that I did pick up this book for the cover. There was something about the illustration that just called to me when I was browsing the library shelves the other day. With that out of the way on with the review.

We meet Stanley Buggles as he learns that a great uncle has died and left him everything. That includes a large house in the village of Crampton Rock by the sea. Stanley, anxious to go see his new property, decides to spend his summer at the house leaving behind his parents and siblings. Stanley meets Mrs. Carelli at the train station, his house keeper, cook, and guardian for the summer and they set off to Candlestick Hall. Stanley quickly realizes just from walking through that town that there is "something wickedly weird" about the village of Crampton Rock. Stanley is not allowed to step foot in the town until he proves he lives there, no one is allowed out after dark, and no one ever goes us onto the moor. To add to all of that there is a sweet shop in town with a very sinister looking owner and no customers and Stanley could swear that he heard a pike mounted on the wall in Candlestick Hall speak to him on two different occasions. Stanley is determined to get to the bottom of things no matter what and that is how all the trouble begins.

There is so much more to this book but if this short description has piqued your interest I do not want to give away anything else. This was a really fun book. It is perfect for an adventurous 3rd-5th grade reader. Stanley is a very likable character who is about eleven years old (if I had to guess) and full of his own ideas about the world. He likes to explore and get into a little bit of mischief. The rest of the cast of characters are equally as likable or despicable (depending on what the author wants us to feel) and we very quickly have our favorites. The plot moves along very quickly and at no point in the story was it slow. I actually flew this this book in about an hour and a half because I needed to know what happened next. This is a series from a British author and in the states four of the six book are out. The book reminded me of the Series of Unfortunate Events but I must say that I like this series a lot more because it is not as depressing. The illustrations look to be drawn with pencil and ink pen and are all in black and white. They convey the weirdness of the town and situations of danger very well, but are not scary, and very accurately reflect the tone of the book. I am excited to read book two and find out what happens when Stanley returns to Crampton Rock for his winter holidays.

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