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The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones
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The Ogre Downstairs (original 1974; edition 2003)

by Diana Wynne Jones

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5711617,406 (3.95)35
Member:klpm
Title:The Ogre Downstairs
Authors:Diana Wynne Jones
Info:Harpercollins Childs (2003), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:children's fiction, fantasy, magic, stepfamilies, England

Work details

The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones (1974)

  1. 01
    Archer's Goon by Diana Wynne Jones (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Another great children's book by Diana Wynne Jones featuring magic, a dysfunctional family and some great humour
  2. 01
    The Lemonade Trick by Scott Corbett (infiniteletters)
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» See also 35 mentions

English (15)  Finnish (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
The Ogre Downstairs didn't captivate me like the Chrestimanci books did. The middle section with the living inanimates (especially the toffy) drags on and on. I really had to force myself through the taffy chapters. While I'm glad to see the Ogre revealed as a good egg the ending seems tacked on. ( )
  pussreboots | Aug 25, 2014 |
Great story of difficult family life, misunderstandings and hilarious outcome of using magic. ( )
  JazMinderr | Jul 31, 2014 |
6 children of divorced parents have to learn to get alone with one another. Making it all worse is the very bad humor of the father, who they all call the ogre, as it's all they can agree on. This is a magical story in all ways, and will please adults and children alike. It's filled with humor--everything DWJ writes has delicious humor in it--but not anything too cute. there's always danger and also mythology. ( )
  Sasha_Doll | Oct 19, 2013 |
This was really cute and fun, more so because it did have a fair amount of darkness and gravity. My favorite parts included the endlessly amusing adventures of the living toffee, toy grubs, and pet pipe (somehow the more hilarious for their frequent awful deaths), and Gwinny's list of the contents of the poisoned cake.

I'm still very confused about why this was in the YA section of the library, though! If nothing else, the cover clearly markets to a younger audience than that. I hope it was just a confused librarian and not someone worried that small children would get the wrong idea about poisoning a stepparent. ;)

Gosh, though, I hope at least some men in the seventies were more competent than the Ogre. The man can't cook or do the laundry. And his wife works! ( )
  raschneid | Mar 31, 2013 |
The ogre in this book is one of the most terrifying creatures in the world -- a stepdad. And apparently step-brothers aren't the best either, at least that's what Caspar, Johnny and Gwinny think. Mr. McIntyre likes to bark orders up the stairs and is constantly yelling at the kids to be quiet, hence the nickname "The Ogre". But one day, he brings home chemistry sets for his son Malcolm and for Johnny that turn out to be anything but standard. Is the magic that's unleashed the kind that will destroy everything or could it possibly be the kind that could bring this blended family together?

I loved this book. This isn't your typical DWJ fantasy and the magic is secondary to the family dynamics. But the book just felt so honest and real that I couldn't help becoming completely invested in the lives of these kids. I felt their elation at discovering magic, their exasperation at being constantly scolded, their slow changes of opinion as their step-family's true natures were revealed.

http://webereading.com/2012/11/how-dwj-saved-day.html ( )
1 vote klpm | Nov 3, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana Wynne Jonesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heslop, MaggieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Newbold, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Richard, who thought of Indigo Rubber,
and Mickey, who helped with the chemicals
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Caspar came into the hall one afternoon with a bag of books on one shoulder and a bag of football clothes on the other and saw his brother carrying a large parcel.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0064473503, Paperback)

Chemical Warfare?

Casper, Johnny, and Gwinny are sure they'll never be happy again when their mother marries Jack, who is as mean as an ogre. To make matters worse, two obnoxious stepbrothers, Malcolm and Douglas, move in as well. No one -- except the parents -- seems happy. But when Jack gives a chemistry set to each group of kids, bigger problems take over. These are, it turns out, not your average chemicals. In one hilarious experiment after another, the kids discover they can fly, switch bodies with one another, and even disappear. If only they could figure out how to undo all of this! Are one combustible stepfamily and two explosive chemistry sets a formula for disaster?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:38 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When a disagreeable man with two boys marries a widow with three children, family adjustments are complicated by two magic chemistry sets which cause strange things to happen around the house.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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