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The clockwork three by Matthew J. Kirby

The clockwork three (edition 2010)

by Matthew J. Kirby

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4243124,938 (3.79)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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Guiseppe spends his days as a busker playing violin on the street corners and hoping to earn enough for the meager food and shelter provided by his evil padrone, Stephano. But when he finds the beautiful green violin in the washed up debris from a shipwreck he begins to dream that there might be a way to return to his home in Italy. Hannah works as a maid in a beautiful downtown hotel, waiting on and cleaning up after the wealthy who are oblivious to her plight as the only means of support for her family after her father suffered a stroke. She learns of a treasure hidden by a former guest, and hopes to find it and save her family from the streets. And Frederick works as an apprentice clockmaker for Master Branch, who saved him from a workhouse/orphanage. He is perhaps most comfortable but he burns with a desire to prove himself and works secretly on a clockwork automaton in the form of a man in the hope it will help him make journeyman, allowing him to open his own shop. But all three of their paths eventually cross and they join to help each other in this story with a basis in real historical events of 1870s New York.

A couple months ago my family and I were in a bookstore and my 8 year old daughter made a bit of a fuss over this book (I was able to obtain an advance reader copy from Amazon Vine instead). After she and I started reading it together I realized that it's a bit over her head - more on a reading level for my 11 year old daughter (I think the recommendation of grades 5-8 is very appropriate). But once I began reading it on my own I couldn't put it down. The story starts a bit slow as it rotates among the three children who are seemingly unconnected to one another, but soon enough you're easily drawn into their lives and the troubles they face.

But while the story is good and will certainly appeal strongly to kids, it's Matthew Kirby's writing that I found especially captivating. It's books and writers like this that make me think that YA fiction is too often underrated. Mr. Kirby's words have a magical color and life to them that breathes life into the story, leaving even adults in the grip of a tale they can't put down. He's a very talented writer and I look forward to more from him (there were a few loose ends here, making me hope there might be room for more from this story). Highly recommended. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
  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 |
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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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