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The House With a Clock In Its Walls by John…

The House With a Clock In Its Walls (1973)

by John Bellairs

Other authors: Edward Gorey (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lewis Barnavelt (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,364335,625 (4.03)1 / 47

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
I really should have read this when I was a child. ?It is written for children, after all, with just the right amount of scariness, heroism, detail, and fable. ?áBut I don't like horror/ supernatural. ?áNever did. ?áI only finally got around to reading it now because it really is a key piece of the cultural history of my 'tribe.'

Anyway, I am glad I read it and will probably (based on GR reviews) read the second. ?áIt's so brilliantly written I don't have to fret about the fact that this kind of scariness is actually boring to me. ?áI love the atypical adult characters, the depth of personality given to friend Tarby, the fact that the author didn't bother telling us how much Lewis (must have) missed his parents, the poker games with a random coin collection as chips, the cider & donuts party, the fact that Lewis' favorite books are John L. Stoddard's Lectures (apparently on British military history).... ?á

There's so much shown here, so concisely, there's no room for any bs, any direct lessons. ?áWe learn about courage & persistence & empathy by watching Lewis learn about them (even though he doesn't actually realize he's learning them, either, mostly). ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
My cousin always tried to get me to read this series when we were little but I was never able to get into them. I came across this one at the library and decided to give it another go. It's really good with likable characters. Highly recommended for anyone who likes magic and mystery. ( )
  NghtStlkr64 | Apr 27, 2016 |
Fun and simple. ( )
  LaPhenix | Mar 18, 2016 |
  mrsforrest | Feb 23, 2015 |
The reason I write fantasy and magic. Bellairs wasn't afraid to challenge young readers either with demanding language or historical references. Of his three protagonists, Lewis is probably the one most non-athletic bookworms will identify with, and unlike many other series featuring child protagonists in a magical setting, he doesn't solve his problems by becoming a physical hero or by developing magic powers of his own, but solves the problem of this book by being...a bookworm. What really stuck with me from childhood readings to adult review was the sense of time and place. Rather than shoot for vague generalizations (something ghostwritten and continued-series books by Strickland are falling victim to) Bellairs firmly anchors his books in time, with references to athletes, radio shows, and store brands, and so deeply in place you can readily identify Marshall, Michigan in his New Zebedee. His books are for the child (or the inner child) seeking a creepy, magical immersion experience. ( )
  Jennifer.Quail | Nov 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Bellairsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gorey, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Priscilla, who lets me be myself
First words
Lewis Barnavelt fidgeted and wiped his sweaty palms on the seat of the bus that was roaring toward New Zebedee.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142402575, Paperback)

Lewis always dreamed of living in an old house full of secret passageways, hidden rooms, and big marble fireplaces. And suddenly, after the death of his parents, he finds himself in just such a mansion--his Uncle Jonathan's. When he discovers that his big friendly uncle is also a wizard, Lewis has a hard time keeping himself from jumping up and down in his seat. Unfortunately, what Lewis doesn't bank on is the fact that the previous owner of the mansion was also a wizard--but an evil one who has placed a tick-tocking clock somewhere in the bowels of the house, marking off the minutes until the end of the world. And when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead on Halloween night, the clock only ticks louder and faster. Doomsday draws near--unless Lewis can stop the clock!

This is a deliciously chilling tale, with healthy doses of humor and compassion thrown in for good measure. Edward Gorey's unmistakable pen and ink style (as seen in many picture books, including The Shrinking of Treehorn and Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats) perfectly complements John Bellairs's wry, touching story of a lonely boy, his quirky uncle, and the ghost of mansions past. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:39 -0400)

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A boy goes to live with his magician uncle in a mansion that has a clock hidden in the walls which is ticking off the minutes until doomsday.

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