Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Floors by Patrick Carman
I'll be honest, I haven't read a lot of Patrick Carman's books, but I know people love his work. I was fortunate enough to hear him speak at a SLJ Leadership Conference a couple of years ago, and was extremely impressed. I've been fascinated with his blending of written stories and web based features, I just haven't gotten around to reading any of his books, until now!
At our book fair in October, I saw a new book called Floors on the shelf and the back intrigued me. I recommended it to several kids who I thought it would appeal to, and reserved my copy at the local branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library in Hilliard. When I picked it up I couldn't wait to start reading and once I started I couldn't put it down.
Leo Fillmore and his father Clarence work and live in the Whippet Hotel the most unusual hotel on Earth. It occupies a large piece of land in Manhattan that would bring a fortune to the owner, Merganzer Whippet. The problem is no one has seen or heard from Merganzer in a long time. Leo misses his eccentric friend but keeping the Whippet up and running is a full time job for he and his father. On one of his daily service calls he discovers a mysterious box that leads him to a room he wasn't even aware existed which leads him to another box and so on until he collects 4 boxes in all and all is revealed.
On his quest he is introduced to a new best friend, the son of another Whippet employee is serving as doorman and interacts with a colorful cast of characters including a cranky hotel manager named Ms. Sparks who sports larger than life bee hive hair do, Mr. Phipps the Gardner who shapes the shrubbery into various animals especially ducks, Mr. Whippet's favorite animal.
Leo encounters puzzles to solve, mysterious notes to decipher and the flock of ducks that live on the roof and must be walked each day. The story of loyalty, friendship and a boy solving some difficult challenges reminded me of Charlie and Chocolate Factory and the Gollywhopper Games, two of my favorites.
I can't wait to get this into the hands of my 3rd - 5th graders and hear how they like the Whippet Hotel adventure. The good news is that it is the first in a series and it has the feel of a very popular series, and as with his other books it includes a cool interactive web site here.