Wednesday, August 31, 2011
"There were three of them. Otto was the oldest, and the oddest. Then there was Lucia, who wished something interesting would happen. Last of all was Max, who always thought he knew better. They lived in a small town in England called Little Tunks." (1)
It is written in a very meta-fictive style in that as the reader you are talked to in a certain, knowing way. Their father has to go out of town on a supposed business trip and sends the children off to London, to an aunt's house. Once they arrive they find only the cat sitter who made the mistake of pretending to understand what their dad said when he called to make arrangements.
Their aunt is truly on holiday and the cat sitter won't let them stay (she doesn't know them after all!) so they spend one scary night in London and then head off to their Great- Aunt's house near the sea. It's quite a journey and once they arrive their Great-Aunt is not what they expect at all. They have a small castle to explore and they find themselves pulled into the mysterious kneebone boy fiasco, which really all leads to what the Hardscrabble children really need; answers to what happened to their mother.
I found this book to be wonderfully quirky and I could think of a whole list of students to recommend it to because you need a unique mind to enjoy the Hardscrabble's as characters as well as their unique journey.
I found it so refreshing when the children find out (although Otto remembers) that their mother has been dealing with her own mental health and that that is where the father goes every time he sets off for a trip.
Ellen Potter breathes an unusual life into Otto, Lucia, and Max, creating this story and I wouldn't mind hearing more about their adventures. Take note of the cover above and realize you will find yourself returning to it throughout the story, checking on details about the children-like Otto's scarf, wrapped so tightly around his neck, as though he is continually cold. Details. Explore Potter's website