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The House with a Clock in Its Walls (1973)

de John Bellairs

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2,484746,016 (3.91)1 / 101
Fantasy. Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. Mystery. HTML:A haunting gothic tale by master mysery writer John Bellairs??soon to be a major motion picture starring Cate Blanchett and Jack Black!
"The House With a Clock in Its Walls will cast its spell for a long time."??The New York Times Book Review

When Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan. comes to stay with his uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. But he is wrong. Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbor, Mrs. Zimmermann, are both witches! Lewis is thrilled. At first, watchng magic is enough. Then Lewis experiments with magic himself and unknowingly resurrects the former owner of the house: a woman named Serenna Izard. It seems that Serenna and her husband built a timepiece into the walls??a clock that could obliterate humankind. And only the Barnavelts can
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 Name that Book: Horror Series read as kid12 por ler / 12Nerilka, Novembro 2010

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I originally read this book as a kid and had forgotten all about it until I found it among a pile of weeded books in a school library. It was the same 1974 Dell Yearling copy I remember reading and immediately the memories of its delicious creepiness came flooding back. I scooped it up and brought it home for my 10-year old, who loved it as much as I did. He even recommended it to his teacher as a class read-aloud.

The illustrations by Edward Gorey are fantastic but what is best about this book is how it taps into a child's wild imagination to help immerse him or her into Lewis's world of Gothic horror. I was ecstatic to rediscover one of my favorite scenes (the nighttime car chase to the bridge) - my 42-year old self had retained this vivid scene (and the intense, creepy emotions it invoked) but had forgotten which book it was from.

Without realizing it, this book was probably the impetus for my love of books with creepy, magical themes (e.g., Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is an all-time favorite read...and listen...and viewing). Now that I have this little gem back in my possession, I will not be letting it go. ( )
  KatieDunne42 | Mar 25, 2024 |
The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a delightful read for middle graders.

Last year I finally got to see the film adaptation and I was blown away! I had so much fun with the legendary tale that was packed full of colour and imagination. Naturally, I wanted to give the book a go to see where the adaptation came from. Lucky my found this book on accident, and ever since I've been staring at it on my shelf. I finally picked the book up, and it was a nice, little binge read for me!

This book is fantastical. It is littered with magic, wizards, witches and friendship, giving it just enough 'umph' to keep the reader glued and enchanted. Lewis is a kid we can all relate to. He does have a tragic back story with the loss of his parents, but he just wants to be friendly and fit in. Lewis isn't amazing at sports, but he tries! He's kind of awkward, but he's super curious. This young boy wants to learn magic and have fun with his family. He works hard to impress others to gain their friendship, but it turns out when he's just being himself and meets the right people, everything falls into place.

Uncle Johnathan and Mrs. Zimmerman are kooky, spooky and filled with fun. They bring an Addams Family friendly vibe to a spooky middle grade tale. Uncle Johnathan is a wizard. He's not the most powerful, but he's fun and eccentric in all the best ways! He's a caring figure who does his best to help Lewis. He's not mean, but he can be strict. Uncle Johnathan never comes off as cruel, instead he seems like the guardian Lewis needs after such an incredibly sudden loss. Mrs. Zimmerman is Uncle Johnathan's friend, and she's a mighty great witch. She's not scary either. Instead, she's wickedly smart and always down for a great ride or game. The two together make for a fabulous set of guardians to help Lewis grow and learn. You don't see that too often in middle grade and young adult books, so extra applause here please.

Lewis gets himself into a little trouble when he starts investigating the death of the former owner of Uncle Johnathan's house. This house is mighty special, like the title suggests. There seems to be a clock in it's walls! But why? Lewis goes on investigating, and starts more trouble than you could ever imagine... But don't worry, with Lewis, Uncle Johnathan and Mrs. Zimmerman, there will definitely be a way to sort out the mischief! They make one great team.

This book isn't scary in the sense of flesh, gore or blood. It's mighty friendly! It's spooky due to the mysteries, twists and turns that the book does and can take. You don't know for sure what is happening until you start unravelling the mystery.

I applaud John Bellairs. This book was mighty fun and not scary. Middle graders deserve spooky and fun books! I highly recommend this book for a introduction to the land of spooky, creepy, crawly and kooky!

Four out of five stars. ( )
  Briars_Reviews | Aug 4, 2023 |
A chubby, awkward kid that likes to read, and uses what he learns from books to triumph over evil. ( )
  LynnMPK | Jul 7, 2023 |
Spooky! ( )
  tmilaandlc | Apr 9, 2023 |
“He held the book up to his nose. It smelled like Old Spice talcum powder. Books that smelled that way were usually fun to read. He threw the book onto his bed and went to his suitcase. After rummaging about for awhile, he came up with a long, narrow box of chocolate-covered mints. He loved to eat candy while he read, and lots of his favorite books at home had brown smudges on the corners of the pages.”
― John Bellairs, The House with a Clock in Its Walls
---

I am so sad to find out that this book has been around almost as long as I have and I have never heard of it much less read it and the book series it inspired. In this book, Lewis Barnavelt comes to live with his uncle after the death of his parents. His uncle lives in a delightfully spooky mansion complete with magic and mysteries, the chief of which being the sound of a clock that can be heard ticking in the walls of any room of the house.

Lewis is overweight, socially awkward, and of course, the new kid so making friends, indeed just navigating the schoolyard, is a bit difficult for him. He finds a ray of hope in the halfhearted friendship with the popular boy Tarby and it is to keep this friendship that Lewis takes the actions that make this story flow as he tries to raise the dead on Halloween night.

I am not a huge fan of the art style, though it fits the literary style of the book perfectly. The story is wonderful in all the magical ways that a kid should enjoy such a mystery. My own son is currently plowing his way through the series. At least he won’t have any regrets about having missed it as a child. It is a great book for middle-grade readers but is also perfect for a Halloween scare for the younger reading circle/bedtime story crowd and honestly any teen or adult who has enjoyed books like a Wrinkle in Time will enjoy this story.

Let's talk more about kid's books at I Read Kid's Book Journal ( )
  Ireadwhatuwrite | Jun 23, 2022 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Bellairs, JohnAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Gorey, EdwardIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Guidall, GeorgeNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Schmitz, AlexanderTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Stone, David K.Artista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Fantasy. Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. Mystery. HTML:A haunting gothic tale by master mysery writer John Bellairs??soon to be a major motion picture starring Cate Blanchett and Jack Black!
"The House With a Clock in Its Walls will cast its spell for a long time."??The New York Times Book Review

When Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan. comes to stay with his uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. But he is wrong. Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbor, Mrs. Zimmermann, are both witches! Lewis is thrilled. At first, watchng magic is enough. Then Lewis experiments with magic himself and unknowingly resurrects the former owner of the house: a woman named Serenna Izard. It seems that Serenna and her husband built a timepiece into the walls??a clock that could obliterate humankind. And only the Barnavelts can

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