Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Children’s Books: The Tilting House by Tom Llewellyn

There is something vaguely Halloweenie about The Tilting House (Tricycle Press) Tom Llewellyn’s debut novel. In truth, however, this might just be because the focus is on a strange house, which seems always to be a device that gets pulled out around this time of year. Something to do with turning inwards when the weather turns cold but, whatever the case, The Tilting House is actually a book that would work well in any season.

The gentle mystery in The Tilting House is all wrapped up in the Peshik family’s new home, a house where nothing seems to be quite as it should. Cryptic diagrams and writing are scribbled on the walls, the floors tilt inward and a rat family, led by rodent patriarch Mr. Daga, all contribute to making the family’s early days in their new home uncomfortable. But then it seems possible they should have read the writing on the wall: quite literally:
We bought the house. For that price, Mom said she could get used to the tilt and the scribbles. I think she realized that Dad was right: We'd never be able to afford a house half as big on Dad’s art museum salary and the money Mom made working part time a the school office. We were doomed to live in a dumpy tilting house.
Llewellyn deals with his mysteries handily and with room to spare, leaving things open enough that one gets the idea a sequel or four might be in the offing. But the Peshik family is interesting enough -- and pleasant enough -- that the thought of future visits is not a distressing one.

The Tilting House is a pleasing mix science and suspense. Kids eight to 11 should eat this one up.

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Anonymous Shelley said...

Since I write about people of the past who feared foreclosure, it suddenly occurred to me to wonder how many kids, in our current economy, are reading books about houses (even "dumpy" houses) without a home of their own, and how that might feel. Hope? Despair?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 10:14:00 AM PDT  

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