Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Elsewhere Chronicles – Book One: The Shadow Door

The Elsewhere Chronicles – Book One: The Shadow Door

Illustrator:  Bannister , Jaffre 
Graphic Novel  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Lerner , 2009   ISBN: 978-0761339632

Max, Noah, and Theo are sitting on the wall of cemetery watching as Old Man Gabe is finally laid to rest. Old Man Gabe was reclusive, and people in town were scared of him. So much so that there are only a few mourners present at his interment. One of them is a little girl called Rebecca. Bored by the proceedings, Rebecca comes up to the boys and strikes up a conversation, explaining that Old Man Gabe was actually her grandfather. Then she announces that she going to see her grandfather’s house, which, it is said, is haunted.  Since Rebecca is not from Perryville, the three boys offer to show her the way.

From the moment that they arrive at the gate in front of the house, Theo is convinced that something about the place is “weird.” Though the inside of the house is rather spooky, the children don’t find anything of interest until they get to the library. There they hear a voice, and they see something that completely freaks them out, which is when they do the sensible thing and run like mad.

The next day, Rebecca overhears one of her siblings talking to someone on the phone, saying that Grandpa Gabe’s house is going to be sold, with all its contents. She really wants to save a few of his books, perhaps the ones Grandpa Gabe wrote himself, so she persuades the boys to go back to the house with her. Exploring the library on her own, Rebecca finds a strange and very large projector. she turns it on…and she disappears.

When the three boys try to find her, they discover that Old Man Gabe was a very strange man who had a lot of secrets, and when the projector is accidentally turned on again, they discover that it opens a doorway to a different world. Rebecca comes through the doorway back into the library, and she is about to tell them what happened to her,when she and Max are sucked back through the doorway, which then closes. Noah and Theo somehow have to find a way to reopen the door and rescue Max and Rebecca before it is too late.

This is the first in what promises to be a thrilling graphic novel series. The story has  likeable characters, bizarre machines, and dangerous monsters, and readers will quickly get caught up by the exciting narrative. They will also be curious to find out more about strange Uncle Gabe and the machines that he built.