Recently (well, to be honest it was last week), I joined Goodreads. After my blog and reading slump of last year I felt a bit out of the loop about books that are ‘in’. And then on Saturday morning I read a blog post by Lisa Jewell about how upset she gets by book reviews, not in a ‘The Greek Seaman’ way, but she gets upset when people are personal about her and don’t review the book. So, I’m a bit nervous because this is the first review* that I will post on Goodreads and I wouldn’t want to be rude or personal to Elen Caldecott, especially as she SIGNED my copy of this book TO ME and spelt my name right. and I also have to give a reason as to why I’m giving it 5 stars. Oh poo! I’ve given away my rating…
Title: The Mystery of Wickworth Manor
Author: Elen Caldecott
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s, 2012
Synopsis: When Paige and Curtis, two kids who are forced together during a school trip, discover a hidden painting, they are determined to find out who the Wickworth Boy really is and the real story behind the painting. Swept up in a rollercoaster of an adventure, an unlikely friendship develops between them, and soon they are working together to expose the truth. Could the boy in the painting really be the ghost who haunts the manor? Or will they find the truth is even more surprising?
This book starts with a prologue and I did a bit of a grass poll with my third graders last year and most of them skip prologues, because they don’t tell you anything, or they go back and read them at the end when they realise the prologue did tell them something. So if you are eight or nine years old: READ THE PROLOGUE, it’s the mystery that’s referred to on the front cover of the book.
So without having given too much away, I’ll get into chapter one. I really liked the characters because they are very normal kids. You probably know someone just like them, Paige is a bit whacky, into the supernatural and tarot cards and is scared of heights and all kinds of things and Curtis is tortured by a terrible mistake he made, which he feels have had awful consequences. This is not to say that these ‘normal’ kids are boring, oh lordy no. Paige is hysterically funny (partly because I recognise some aspects of her) and Curtis is her straight man, who ‘slowly’ realises that the way he views the world isn’t the only way.
So I haven’t talked about the story or the mystery yet. Basically the kids are on a week’s adventure trip in this big old manor owned by a slightly deranged (my take) old woman. There are attic rooms and cobwebs and lakes, hidden panels and long-lost letters and all the ingredients you need to make a mystery. There were also some dreams and maybe some help from mysterious forces, or not.
And finally, there’s the part where we learn a bit of history, not by opening a text-book and turning to page 23, but by being unable to stop turning the pages of this book and finding out what happens next. Maybe by the time young readers get to the end they will be encouraged by Paige and Curtis to go and find out some more by themselves.
So, yes, all in all, I couldn’t put the book down. Thank you Elen for running the Facebook giveaway and now I better get on with reading Operation Eiffel Tower (which I actually bought), and I give this book:
As an aside, has anyone signed up for the British Book Challenge 2013? I’m thinking of signing up but haven’t actually finished a book this year! Let me know if you’re doing it.
* And here’s a further aside. After saying this would be my FIRST review on Goodreads, I then copied all my old reviews and posted it them. I also got a bit carried away with the scan function on the app, but that’s another story.