Review Blog

Feb 18 2016

Curiosity house by Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester

cover image

Hodder & Stoughton, 2015. ISBN 9781444777192
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Welcome to Dumfrey's Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders where mysteries, oddities, freaks, adventures and creepy stuff abound! Orphans Philippa, Sam and Thomas have grown up in this strange and extraordinary place looked after by Mr Dumfrey, owner and proprietor of New York's strangest house of wonders. Each of these children is gifted with a peculiar talent. Philippa is a mentalist, Sam is so strong he needs to take care opening doors and Thomas can fold himself up into amazingly small spaces. Together with assorted helpers and other 'acts' they all struggle to keep the Dime Museum open.
Then the arrival of a marvellous Amazonian shrunken head lifts the attendance of the strange museum but not without accompanying dramas of thefts, mysterious deaths and a creepy stranger stalking the children. The appearance of a fourth child, Max, a street urchin with an uncanny ability to throw knives so accurately they can split a hair completes the cast.
After the audacious theft of the shrunken head the four children are determined to retrieve and save their home despite some serious opposition. In the process they encounter murder and mayhem and a startling revelation about their pasts.
For readers who love the quirkiness of Lemony Snicket and similar books, this is a great read which moves along at a rattling pace with some wonderful characterisations and wonderfully spooky settings.
Sue Warren

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