My first review of 2019 is an engrossing tale, WATCH HOLLOW, and the results hint at another great year for MG books. Be sure to check out my interview last week with author Gregory Funaro.
Inside the Blackford House is a gigantic cuckoo clock no one can fix—except maybe Mr. Tinker. If successful at getting it to work, he’ll be rewarded handsomely, something his financially strapped family could use. Add in his two curious children, Lucy (11) and Oliver (13), and a mystery unfolds.
It seems this house is beyond ordinary and the broken, fancy clock is just the beginning. Wooden figurines come to life and branches from the nearby forest creep closer. And what’s up with the angry crow? Lucy discovers the magic going on in the house and forest, but she keeps the secret to herself. Meanwhile, Oliver helps his dad, and meets a strange boy who may hold the key to getting this one of a kind clock to work.
The best part for readers is figuring out the mystery. Clues drop in starting with the short prologue and continue through 16 chapters. A delightful foretelling is hidden in the clock face picture that begins each chapter. The what and why is expertly crafted into a thrilling climax.
Look for a sequel as a mysterious character is introduced on the final page. Another mystery about to unfold. Tick-tock-Tick-tock…
PUBLICATION DATE: February 12, 2019 PAGE COUNT: 256
THE OFFICIAL STORY BLURB (From AMAZON)
Deep within the enchanted woods in the town of Watch Hollow stands the once-grand Blackford House, whose halls hold a magical secret: a giant cuckoo clock that does much more than tell time. But when the clock’s gears cease to turn, an evil presence lurking among the trees begins to come out of the shadows.
When Lucy and Oliver Tinker arrive in Watch Hollow, they have no idea that anything is wrong. A mysterious stranger has made their father an offer that’s too good for him to refuse. All Mr. Tinker needs to do is fix the clock at Blackford House and fistfuls of gold coins are his to keep.
It doesn’t take long, however, for the children to realize that there is more to Blackford House than meets the eye. And before they can entirely understand the strange world they’ve stumbled into, Lucy and Oliver must join forces with a host of magical clock animals to defeat the Garr—a vicious monster that not only wants Blackford House for itself, but also seeks to destroy everything the Tinkers hold dear.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:
WATCH HOLLOW by Gregory Funaro
- Lucy and Oliver are characters you will grow to enjoy for their strengths and support of each other.
- The story has you trying to figure out the other characters real intentions. The perfect setup for a page turning plot.
- You learn how a cuckoo clock works. It is the focus of the mystery and comes about through thoughts and conversations between Oliver and his dad. The result is never a dry retelling of facts.
- The balance of fear and love is a theme we can all attest to.
- The animals characters, each attached to a clock hour, were a fun and important part of the story. The crow, rat, dog, and cat are the ones you’ll get to know and understand.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (From Gregory Funaro’s Web Site):
Gregory Funaro grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island, and wrote his first story, The Ghost in the Window, in the fourth grade. He considers this to be his finest work, but unfortunately it has been lost to time. Following high school Greg majored in theatre at the University of New Hampshire, and after various acting gigs, received his AM in Theatre Arts from Brown University and an MFA in Acting from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. He began his literary career writing thrillers for adults, but switched to children’s books after the birth of his daughter. His first book for Disney-Hyperion, ALISTAIR GRIM’S ODDITORIUM (2015), was a New York Times best seller and an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and his second, ALISTAIR GRIM’S ODD AQUATICUM (2016), received a Kirkus STARRED review. Look for WATCH HOLLOW and THE MAZE OF SHADOWS, coming from HarperCollins in 2019/20. Greg also teaches drama at East Carolina University, and is busy working on his next novel.
I was given an ARC for my honest review.
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