Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Walls Within Walls is Hard to Put Down
One of my amazing parent volunteers recommended a book to me that she and her daughter had been reading and as I always do, I immediately went to my computer and reserved it at the library. As usual, I was not disappointed, the parents in my building are full of excellent suggestions.
Walls Within Walls grabs the reader from the start. I was immediately hooked on the mystery and trying to solve the puzzles and codes that make it up. The book by Maureen Sherry reminded me a lot of Blue Balliet's books. They both use real historical people, buildings and artwork to set up fascinating mystery stories that beg to be solved.
The Smithfork children, Brid, CJ, and Patrick are moved from their comfortable neighborhood and normal, middle class life, to a ritzy 5th Avenue apartment when their father hits it big in the video game business. None of them are very happy about leaving their friends and schools behind. It forces them to become closer since none of them have any other friends at the new apartment. During a bit of rough housing on moving day, they uncover a painting of an eye that is huge. It seems the apartment they have moved into used to belong to the Post family, inventors of packaged foods and friends of all of the beautiful people during the early 1900s.
When Mr. Post died it was stipulated that the apartment's original walls must never be changed, so walls were built inside of the originals so the apartment could be cut into smaller units...walls within walls...get it!? The kids lower the littlest brother down between the walls and he discovers something that sets them on the hunt for the mysterious, lost Post fortune and inheritance. The search involves secret codes, a secret map, long lost Post children and a historical tour of NYC that could make a very cool field trip or family vacation.
For her first novel Maureen Sherry based her story on her experiences of moving into a historic apartment with her family and the mystery she built for them. She includes just enough detail and intrigue to keep a kid interested. The adventures on the streets of NYC and the ways the Smithfork kids get out of the house to investigate bring back thoughts of the Jamie and Claudia Kincaid investigating the secret of the angel.
I liked everything about this book and look forward to the sequel and more adventures with the Smithfork children. I will be recommending it to my fourth and fifth graders.
Books and Books
Queen Anne Books