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The House in Windward Leaves by Katherine L.…
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The House in Windward Leaves

by Katherine L. Holmes

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Wayward Sadie leads her friends to the murals of the painter Mistral. There, they are transported to a star where their Halloween costumes become real. As Fortuneteller, Sadie only has to look in her crystal ball to help the others with their dream identities. Her friend Candy has become the Homecoming Queen. Her brother is a zebra and the neighbor boy is a musician in the star band. Other children in Sadie's grade school make up a bizarre community of star people who have also become enchanted. The hunt for a star-of-sapphire necklace takes up the latter chapters of this madcap fantasy.… (more)

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From Website: Halloween night, the wayward Sadie leads her friends past cardboard cut-outs of the painter Mistral and a lady at the leaf-covered house on Windward Road. A wall mural transports them to a Halloween party on a star where their costumes become real.
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As Fortuneteller, Sadie only has to look in her crystal ball to help the others with their transformations. Her friend Candy is the Homecoming Queen and her brother has turned into a zebra. The neighbor boy has become George Washington and his brother is a musician in the star band.
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That begins the adventures of Sadie and the enchanted children who make up the bizarre star community. Then Mistral's woman friend finds that her star-of-sapphire necklace is missing. After the gangster Riff Raff is accused, he displays a map and riddles for a treasure hunt. The winner must locate the Tooth Fairy, pass by a weredog, and follow directions to an invisible unicorn to be granted a boon from Enchanter Mistral. But other wishes have to be discovered.

ɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤɤ​
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The House in Windward Leaves is about a strange house down the road, covered in leaves. It is abandoned, or so the neighborhood thought. A mysterious man has been painting in the house, at least that is what everyone assumes from the man’s continual purchases of paint. No one is willing to ask him or go to the house, until Halloween arrives. Dressed in the costumes each child agonized over, they all end up at the end of the road awhere the house covered in leaves is at. They find a cardboard likeness of the man in front of a treat bowl. There is also a cat intertwining around the cardboard man. The cat slipps into the house and the children folloq by opening the unlocked front door. It is as if the cat went in ahead to announce the children’s arrival. One gets the idea the man, known as Mistral, was expecting each of these children.
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Once inside the children see the house not painted in a traditional sense, but painted with scenes. The living room was full of furniture, but not one piece was anything more than paint on a wall. The cat plays with the zebra tail of Tim’s costume, unraveling yarn, and then runs down a hallway painted on the wall. Tim’s runs after the cat, Sadie runs after Tim, and soon everyone has crossed over into a new world. In this other world, created by Mistral, the children take on the persona of their Halloween costume. Sadie, a girl who feels more like a loner when around her friends, become an enchanter (fortuneteller), with a crystal ball that can tell the future of these new character. She is now one of the most important people on this star. Candy who had dressed like a homecoming queen for Halloween, becomes the star’s Queen. Tim, who loves to run, has turned into a real zebra, Ben, a trumpet player in his real life becomes a shy trumpeter, Roger, who can speak well in public becomes George Washington, and Gretchen becomes a priest.
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While in this other world, each of the children have adventures. Roger’s George Washington was hilarious. In a boat, sailing in the sky, George is trying to cross the Delaware River; after being urged to return to “shore” George tosses all the black tea bags into then the one river on the star, crying about the British coming. He has everyone else worried about what they will drink now that all the tea is gone.
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The House in Windward Leaves has several scenes like the George Washington scenes. Ms. Holmes uses humor very effectively in her well-written tome. She had won The Loft’s Children’s Literature Prize with The House in Windward Leaves when it was only a short story. Each character has an engagingly distinct voice The star Mistral throws his Halloween party upon can be easily envisioned because of the descriptive language used in each scene.
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The House in Windward Leaves is Ms. Holmes’ debut in children’s literature. She has begun her writing career on a high note, but I think she is capable of topping even herself. She may have won a short story contest with a shorter version of The House in Windward Leaves, but the novel will have her an award-winning author” by year’s end.

Originally reviewed at Kid Lit Reviews. Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.

http://kid-lit-reviews.com/2013/01/24/review-the-house-in-windward-leaves-by-kat... ( )
  smmorris | Jan 30, 2013 |
In Holmes’ children’s novel, the story follows the journey of several children who dress up for Halloween and are mystically transformed into the characters reflected in their costumes after visiting the mysterious house in Windward Leaves.

The story is creative, the characters are realistic and I found myself laughing out loud at several intervals. It is a story that my daughter would have enjoyed when she was younger and one children will enjoy again and again. ( )
  debbieaheaton | Jan 21, 2013 |
Every child I know spends months deciding on the perfect Halloween costume. It's the one day they get to pretend to be who (or what) they imagine they would really like to be. Wouldn't it be fun, though, if instead of just dressing up, each child could actually become who (or what) they are dressed as? Well, that's exactly what happens in this little book.

I'd say 'The House in Windward Leaves' would be appropriate for children in grade two and older. The perfect age to enjoy a story about kids who go to a magical costume party - on a star, no less. Once at this party the children become who they are dressed as, and they forget who they really are. Is the fantasy better than reality? Or should the children remember and go home?
I thought the author kind of shortchanged the pre- and post-party action and development. The focus is totally on the party. This makes sense for a children's book, I suppose, but I would have liked more build up before the party. OK, maybe not more so much as better. The set up seemed 'glossed over' to me. Just something to get through in order to start the party.

The party itself was fun. The interaction between the characters was well done as was the 'magic' that permeated the star. The fortuneteller was my favorite character - I dressed up as one more than once when I was younger - I loved her crystal ball and the things she 'saw'. The climax of the party comes in the guise of a scavenger hunt which brings adventure and suspense to the story.

If you have kids who enjoy fun and fantasy in their books, this may be just the story for them. ( )
  DanaBurgess | Oct 31, 2011 |
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