Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The House with a clock in its walls audio

The House with a clock in its walls audio

John Bellairs
For ages 9 to 12
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: George Guidall
Recorded Books, 2000   ISBN: 978-0788747397

Lewis Barnavelt does not know what to expect as he makes his way towards New Zebedee, Michigan. His parents died unexpectedly and now he is going to live with his Uncle Jonathan. He has heard things about this uncle of his which were far from complimentary so he is pleasantly surprised to find that his uncle is an interesting and kind man who lives in a remarkable old mansion.

Lewis soon settles in, spending evenings playing poker with his uncle and eating the excellent cookies that his uncle’s neighbor, Mrs. Zimmerman makes for them. He is however rather unnerved which he discovers that his uncle wanders around the house at night tapping on the walls. What on earth is his uncle up to?

Soon enough Lewis finds out. His uncle explains that the old mansion used to belong to a very nasty pair of wizards and before they died they left a clock hidden somewhere in the house. Uncle Jonathan is trying to find this clock. He also explains to Lewis that he and Mrs. Zimmerman are also wizards and between them they can manage quite an impressive array of spells. Lewis gets to see some of his uncle’s magic for himself and is quite enchanted by it.

What Lewis does not realize is that magic can also have a very powerful dark side. It is only when he starts dabbling with magic himself that he stumbles across this terrifying truth. Trying to impress his new friend, Lewis casts a spell which threatens to endanger not only himself, his uncle, and Mrs. Zimmerman, but the entire world.

In this fantastic gothic tale, John Bellairs weaves a story which is gripping, often amusing, and definitely spine tingling. The author has created a main character whom everyone can identify with, especially those of us who are not terribly popular or athletic. Listeners will appreciate the fact that here is a hero who has fears and worries, and who sometimes makes very big mistakes.

Deliciously scary and exciting, this is the kind of story fans of magic will find irresistible. George Guidall narrates the story beautifully perfectly capturing the personalities of the characters.