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The clockwork three by Matthew J. Kirby

The clockwork three (edition 2010)

by Matthew J. Kirby

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4082926,080 (3.78)11
Title:The clockwork three
Authors:Matthew J. Kirby
Info:New York : Scholastic Press, 2010.
Collections:Your library

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The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby


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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
  BRCSBooks | Aug 15, 2014 |
I am grateful to my friend, Izzy for recommending this book to me. It was a great read, quite the page turner. I loved all the different stories and how they fit together. Three kids on their own, each trying to solve a weighty problem. Friendship, trust and cooperation help them win the day. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
A hidden treasure, a green violin, and a clockwork man's head - three valuable items so different, yet they bring the lives of three young people together. Giuseppe is an orphan who is forced to play music to earn money for his master. Once he finds the green violin, he realizes he can earn enough money to keep some for himself, and eventually go home to Italy. Hannah works at a grand hotel to help her family, but her encounter with Madame Pomeroy gives her hope that her family will be well and whole again one day. Frederick is an apprentice clock maker who was saved from a horrible orphanage; he secretly works at night to build a clockwork man the likes of which have not been seen. As the three search for their desires, they meet by chance and help each other on their journeys. And as they search, they realize friendship is as important as the material desires they were searching for. This book full of mystery and magic is a perfect bedtime story. It kept me turning pages long after I should have gone to sleep; I wanted to know what would happen to Giuseppe, Hannah, and Frederick, and to know they would be safe. They learn such an important lesson - that material goods are not the only part of life. Friends and family, as well as trust and faith, are what make our lives rich and full. ( )
  litgirl29 | Jan 18, 2014 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: This book was written with a younger audience in mind, but would be entertaining for anyone to read. Elements of history combined with fantasy make it a good escape.

Opening Sentence: When Guiseppe found the green violin, he did not think it would help him escape.

The Review:

This book was definitely one that was hard to put down. The rhythm of it was fast-paced the entire time, which would make it more entertaining for the younger audience for whom it was written, but a quick, fun read for teens or adults as well. It was almost like a book of three short stories that combines at the end to become one story, so there is always something going on.

In case the reader misses this point, like I did, I would like to point out that the history behind the book’s storyline is shared in the About the Author section at the end of the book, and I think knowing that a main portion of the book is based on a true story really adds to the emotion and the drama of the storyline. But I’ll let you check that out yourself if you would like.

As it is set in a historical time period, the children are all carrying much more responsibility than we are used to for children today. They are basically children who work as adults, but with adults still controlling their lives. This book has quite dark undertones, and at some point I was questioning whether it was really appropriate for children in the audience for which is was written. Since it is based in a real historical time period, many of the dark elements were actual real fears that children in that age range would have had to face. I think it would be important to discuss that if reading this in a school or family setting.

Each of the children characters has largely different circumstances, but is at a turning point with the obstacle they are facing where they will either succumb to the weight they are carrying or rise above it. Although they are hesitant to do so, they must learn to trust other people to even give them a hope of overcoming the tremendous burdens that they have been faced with. In doing so, they must not only decide whom to trust, but must also fight back by attempting some not so commendable acts themselves. The children all end up admitting each of their follies at the appropriate time, however, showing that they too are trustworthy, just desperate enough to go against their inherently innocent nature.

The character progression is one of the most intriguing things about this book. It is definitely a coming-of-age story for the three main characters. I struggle with one aspect of the book, and that is that many of the problems are solved through somewhat mysterious means. Most of the events can be explained scientifically, but there are a few instances that are attributed to magic of some sort. I wish that the author would have found a more realistic way for the children to overcome their obstacles, since I feel that the overall purpose of the book is to show that children are certainly capable of something more than we credit them for.

Even with an Epilogue, this book definitely would have made an excellent series. The characters and plot are so well-developed by the end of the book that there definitely could have been more, but I suppose it’s that way with any good story. This one is definitely that enjoyable and the reader definitely becomes that close to the characters, wanting to step into the book and help somehow, to make sure that each child makes it safely to adulthood.

Notable Scene:

“You poor thing,” Alice said. “I wish there was something I could do.”

It seemed as though that was just something adults said. Adults like Reverend Grey. But Guiseppe felt that they were saying it more to themselves, so they felt less guilty about doing nothing. But he did not blame them. What they could do for him, they had done.

FTC Advisory: Scholastic Press provided me with a copy of The Clockwork Three. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Nov 15, 2013 |
Recommended Ages: Gr. 5-8

Plot Summary: Guiseppe is hoping to find something on the shore from a shipwreck and is shocked to find a violin case with a green violin. It plays magnificently and he knows he needs to keep it secret. He doesn't want his boss to find out about it, so that means he also needs to keep it secret from the other mean boys who sometimes rob him of the money he makes. Guiseppe thinks this might finally be the way he can get back home to Italy because he makes an unbelievable amount of money playing this violin. He hides the violin and some of the money in a gravestone in the church cemetery and heads back. Right before going in, he sees Pietro, who is crying and has no money. Guiseppe feels bad for him and offers him some of his money. The rest is stolen by the bullies and Guiseppe is forced to spend the night with the rats. Will Guiseppe make enough money to get back to Italy? Will he be able to keep his green violin a secret? What will happen with Pietro and the bullies?

Hannah claims everything is fine, but she's having a hard time holding it all together. She wants her father, who had a stroke, to recover quickly so he can go back to work and support the family. She wants that more than anything. In the meantime, she's working as a maid at the hotel under mean Miss Wool. When she overhears Miss Wool talk about treasure in the hotel, she tries to find it herself, hoping it will solve her money problems. Without it, her father might not survive the leg infection he has. Without money, she and her family might be homeless. Will she be able to solve the clues and find the treasure before Miss Wool?

Fredrick wants nothing more than to be journeyman. He secretly works on making an automaton with the hopes of making a big impression. Meanwhile, he lives above the clock shop with Master Branch and doesn't ask for much although you can tell they truly care for each other. When Fredrick gets lost, Hannah tells him the way home. When Fredrick gets beat up on the street, Guiseppe comes to his aide. A little later, the three of them work together to help each other. Guiseppe tells Fredrick he's seen a head that would be perfect for his automaton body and they break into the museum and steal it. He stays up all night working on it and when it finally turns on, Hannah is the one who can solve the secret code. She also puts the piece of the golem she accidentally stole from the museum in the body of the automaton and it runs away. The head of the clock organization know that Fredrick stole it but they can't prove it. The threaten Fredrick and Master Branch their licenses. Can the kids find the automaton? Will Fredrick made journeyman or will he get in too much trouble?

Setting: undefined time and location, but seems like east coast in 1800s because they take ships to get to Europe

Guiseppe - 11 y/o, Stephano brought him to the US when he was 5 y/o
Pietro - young boy who speaks very little English, was taken from his family in Italy to work for Stephano
Stephano - Guiseppe's boss/lord, in charge of all of the boys who play instruments on the streets, horribly mean and threatens the boys, doesn't feed them well, puts them in with the rats when they don't bring him enough money, even the police stay away from him
Reverend Grey - old man who works at a church in the graveyard where Guiseppe hides his money and violin, friendly with Guiseppe but Guiseppe knows Stephano could kill the Reverend without thinking twice and doesn't want to get the Reverend too involved in his business to protect him
Fredrick - 13 y/o, wants to make journeyman, is building a secret automaton in the basement of the shop because Master Branch never goes down there
Master Isaiah Branch - clockmaster, takes on Fredrick and tries to get Fredrick to trust him
Hannah - had to drop out of school to become a maid and support the family, has younger twin siblings, her mom stays home to care for their father
Madame Constance Bernadette Pomeroy - staying in the hotel for an indefinite amount of time, reads fortunes using cards, holds seances
Yakov - Russian soldier and Madame Pomeroy's bodyguard
Mister Twine - owner of the hotel, knows Hannah's father because he did a lot of the carving in the hotel before he got sick
Miss Wool - Hannah's boss at the hotel, crabby and bossy, mean towards Hannah, trying to find the treasure hidden but isn't very smart and lets Hannah hear her talk about it
Mr. Grumholdt - works for the hotel, working with Miss Wool to find the treasure
Mr. Stroop - old man who moved into the hotel when his house was destroyed, he never moved out, is said to have left treasure in the hotel before he died
Mrs. Treeless - head of Frederick's orphanage
Walter - works with Hannah, everyone has a crush on him, turns in Hannah when she asks him to sell the necklace
Alice - very old, works in the hotel garden, Hannah is one of the only maids who is friendly with her, lives in the park, gives Hannah an herbal medicine for her dad's infection, very welcoming towards Guiseppe when he needs food and somewhere to stay
Pullman - lives in the woods, friends with Alice, helps the kids when they go into the woods

Recurring Themes: friendship, trust, hard work, sickness, choices, orphans, self-sufficient, clocks, good deeds

Controversial Issues:
pg 117 - "You're getting out of this hell on earth."

Personal Thoughts:

Genre: super difficult to say: feels like historical fiction but it's not, could be science fiction because the automaton was advanced technology at the time, but fantasy because the piece of the golem is what turned it on

Pacing: medium-fast, thick book but good character development, a little bit of action
Characters: easy to keep them straight, all have a purpose

Activity: clocks, gears ( )
  pigeonlover | Nov 10, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545203376, Hardcover)

An enchanted green violin, an automaton that comes to life, and a hidden treasure. . . . THE CLOCKWORK THREE is a richly woven adventure story that is sure to become a classic!

Three ordinary children are brought together by extraordinary events. . .

Giuseppe is an orphaned street musician from Italy, who was sold by his uncle to work as a slave for an evil padrone in the U.S. But when a mysterious green violin enters his life he begins to imagine a life of freedom.

Hannah is a soft-hearted, strong-willed girl from the tenements, who supports her family as a hotel maid when tragedy strikes and her father can no longer work. She learns about a hidden treasure, which she knows will save her family -- if she can find it.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:39 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

As mysterious circumstances bring Giuseppe, Frederick, and Hannah together, their lives soon interlock like the turning gears in a clock and they realize that each one holds a key to solving the others' mysteries.

(summary from another edition)

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