Monday, March 30, 2015

House with a Clock in Its Walls and Stranger in the Shadows

In The House with a Clock in Its Walls, Lewis Barnavelt has been recently orphaned.  He goes to live with his uncle, Jonathan Barnavelt.  Lewis soon learns that his uncle is a magician.  He also learns that the house has a magical clock hidden within one of the walls and that the clock poses a grave danger.

This is a very spooky book, and I believe it would have terrified me if I had read it when young. 

Sounds are very important in this book.  The ticking of the hidden clock is the most important, but I noticed how the author describes ordinary sounds.  A cushion makes a hissing noise when someone sits on it.  On page 1, we learn that Lewis wears corduroy trousers that "go whip-whip when you walk."  I wore corduroy pants for a time when I was a child, and I had forgotten about that sound.  I remember it well. 

On page 19, we learn that Lewis "loved to eat candy while he read, and lots of his favorite books at home had brown smudges on the corners of the page."  Oh, yes!  Some of my childhood books have food stains on the pages.

In The Figure in the Shadows, Lewis Barnavelt is being bullied at school.  The bullying has become intolerable.  Fortunately, he does have one friend, Rose Rita, but she is not able to protect him all the time.  Lewis discovers that an old coin is a valuable amulet, so he wears it around his neck.  The coin gives Lewis the strength to fight the bullies, but it also beckons a dark figure who follows Lewis around.  Lewis is terrified of what the stranger will do.

There are additional books about Lewis Barnavelt, but I do not have any of them.

I enjoyed these books but not enough to want to read them again.  I enjoyed them about the same as the average book I read as a child.  I'm thinking of the dozens of books that I read in childhood that I now can no longer remember and have no desire to collect or read again. 


Nora said...

Noticed that the drawings were by Edward Gorey who is known for his spooky art work!

sequesterednooks said...

This takes me back! I had a few of these I read several times when younger. The stong occult element definitely gave me the shivers. It's not the sort of thing I would seek out, and I don't know how much I would like them as an adult.