Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Wooden Mile: Something Wickedly Weird

The Wooden Mile: Something Wickedly Weird

Chris Mould
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Roaring Brook Press, 2008   ISBN: 978-1596433830

Stanley Buggles is a very ordinary eleven-year-old boy who has had, for the most part, an ordinary and unexciting life. Then one day Stanley gets a letter and he learns that his great-uncle has died and that he, Stanley, has inherited his great-uncle’s house and possessions. Not long after getting the letter, Stanley travels to Crampton Rock to see his inheritance.

When Stanley gets to Crompton Rock he is amazed to discover that the little fishing village is on an island, and that the only way to get to and from the island is by walking on a long wooden bridge (only at low tide) or by boat.

Stanley is fascinated by his great-uncle’s house, Candlestick Hall. It is an enormous place full of interesting objects. There is something wrong though, for the housekeeper, Mrs. Carelli insists that Stanley be indoors before it gets dark. Stanley sees with his own eyes how the streets in the little village empty at dusk after the sounding of a bell, and how several people climb into watch towers. What are they looking out for?

Things only get more mysterious the next day. A stuffed and very dead pike displayed in the house speaks and tells Stanley to “Stay away from William Cake, and beware of the lady who lives in the water.” Stanley has no idea what this mean. Sometime later he learns how his great uncle died. Apparently the poor man was attacked by some creature and the people in the village had a hard time identifying him because his head was missing.

Stanley then finds out that the owner of the sweet shop in the town is called William Cake, and an ex-pirate tells the boy that William Cake is a werewolf who turns into a dangerous beast at night. Stanley has no idea if the pirate is telling the truth about William Cake, or if he is lying through his teeth. How on earth did he end up in the middle of such a bizarre and frightening situation?

Young readers are sure to find this story thoroughly captivating. Full of adventure, secrets, and touched with dark humor, this is the first in what promises to be a popular new series.