Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Night Wolf

Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Night Wolf

Paul Stewart , Chris Riddell
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Random House, 2012   ISBN: 978-0385736978

Barnaby Grimes is a tick-tock lad. He delivers messages and packages, and performs other services for the people living in his city. One moonlit night Barnaby is going across the roofs of the city - this is his normal mode of moving about - when he is attacked by a ferocious and enormous wolf. Thankfully the wily young man is able to survive the encounter and the wolf falls to its death. That same night, on his way home after his ordeal, Barnaby discovers that an old friend of his – a retired coachman – has gone missing. Apparently the coachman, Old Benjamin, failed to receive a letter which a Dr. Theopholus Cadwallader sent him. The tick-tock lad who was given the job of delivering the letter was very late in making his delivery and by the time he arrived at his destination Old Benjamin was gone.

Barnaby decides to go and visit Dr. Cadwallader and something about the man bothers Barnaby. He agrees to take on a job for the doctor, hoping that he will discover something about the doctor's business. At first it appears that the doctor is just what he says he is; a man who ministers to the poor. Barnaby delivers reminder letters to a group of poor people. They all have to go to the doctor's home that night to get their "final syringe" of the medicine that he has been giving them.

After all the letters are delivered, something truly awful happens. Another wolf goes on the rampage and this time it kills numerous people before it is cornered in a horse's stable. There is a terrible commotion in the stable and then one of the horses breaks out of the building and runs away. When Barnaby and the rest of the bystanders go into the stable they discover that the wolf has disappeared. All the find in the building is the body of a woman, a woman whom Barnaby happens to know is one of Dr. Cadwaller's patients.

In this thrilling and often downright frightening story we meet a young man who has a very unique job. Though he has seen and experienced many strange things in his time, Barnaby's new adventure is the most bizarre, and dreadful, that he has ever had. Set in a Dickensian Victorian city, this is a tale that readers will find completely captivating.