This book is the first in a new series for middle grade readers. Three children in Kingscross, England find a mysterious glowing circle in the floor of their eccentric uncle’s attic. They soon realize that this circle is capable of pulling fictional characters out of novels that are placed within the circle.
The children’s first adventure involves Quasimodo from Victor Hugo’s famous novel. Action, intrigue, and humor follow that are all perfectly appropriate for middle grade readers. Samson tells a fine tale.
The real strength of this series (and my personal favorite feature) is the narrator, a gentle fussbudget janitor who works in the English department of Kingscross University. This janitor narrates the story with wit, humor, and constant interruptions that instruct the reader on the art of storytelling. Literary devices like telling details, back-story, and ending chapters with a ‘hook’ are all explained even as they are employed by the author. All of this is done without breaking the flow of the story. In addition to introducing young readers to literary classics, Samson has devised a way to teach storytelling too. What a fantastic idea. (I mentioned this book in a previous post about “telling details.“)
Recommended for middle grade readers and those who love them.
(Disclaimer: I work for the publisher of this book. However, I didn’t work on this book, and all of my thoughts here are my honest opinion.)