by Ellen Potter
Opening lines--"There were three of them. Otto was the oldest, and the oddest. Then there was Lucia, who wished something interesting would happen. Last of all was Max, who always thought he knew better."
My first coherent thought on starting the book was, "Oooh, Oswald Bastable narration!" If you don't know what I mean, go read E. Nesbit. Basically the idea is that one child in a family tells the story without revealing his or her identity--except that they always describe themselves in slightly more heroic terms than the rest of the family so it's pretty easy to tell who's actually narrating.
In this case, I was wowed by the cover art, which promised something dark and mysterious and perhaps a bit tragic and unsettling. Also, Ellen Potter has a great track record, in my experience. The book was most of those things, maybe a little less dark, despite the cover. More delicious and mysterious with a sad edge to it. The mysteries were mostly mysterious, with the exception of one of the minor characters, which I called pretty much from the beginning.
I think the comparison with The Treasure Seekers
is a good one, despite the very different tones and plots. They're both about very ingrown families which stick close because they don't have much else. They're both about families who grown into something, who face a hard situation and come away stronger for it.
My other Ellen Potter reviews:Pish Posh (2010)Slob (2010)
Book source: public library
Book information: Feiwel and Friends, 2010; ages 9-12 (or...anyone who likes reading?)
Originally published here