Ten-year-old Stuart has wonderful, wacky parents -- a father who writes crossword puzzles and an absent-minded scientist mother. He loves his home and friends. So, when Stuart's family decides to move, he's dismayed . . . and then bored, till he finds a note challenging him to find Great-Uncle Tony's hidden workshop, where he created magic tricks using clever mechanisms. Great-Uncle Tony, aka "Teeny-Tiny Tony Horten" mysteriously disappeared in 1940, after his factory was destroyed by a firebomb.Stuart sets out to uncover clues to the location of the lab while trying to avoid the pesky triplets who live next door, eventually finding that one of the triplets is not only quite helpful but also very fun to hang out with. Will Stuart find the missing laboratory or has too much time passed since his great uncle disappeared? What became of Great-Uncle Tony and the woman he loved?
I love a good "quest" book and Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms is one of the most delightful adventures I've read in quite some time. Stuart is a likable hero and his father is hilarious in that sly way that happens to be educational (by using big words, which are always nicely defined). There are a few slapstick scenes mixed in with the moments during which Stuart ponders clues, making for perfect pacing. A "madcap sequel" is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2012 and I absolutely cannot wait.
5/5 - Excellent writing, great characters, well thought-out quest with loads of humor and fantastic pacing make for an enchanting read.
I was looking for a link to Sterling Children's Books and found this review:
Also worth mentioning: Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms was longlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2011 in the UK (England is the setting), which is likely to send me on a quest to locate the titles of the winners.
I chose to highlight the title in red, even though there's no red on the cover, to make it stand out. But, the red reminded me that I have a photograph that makes me wonder . . . Do you think it's difficult for people who paint telephone boxes in Great Britain to get home without being stopped by a police officer? In absence of the paintbrush, I think I'd be convinced the man below committed some heinous crime.