Middle School Monday: Curiosity House: The Screaming Statue by Lauren Oliver
Sam, Max, Pippa, and Thomas are back for another mystery with Curiosity House: The Screaming Statue. Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders is again in serious financial straights, but Mr. Dumfrey has an idea for an exhibit that will draw crowds – a lifelike display of the latest society scandal, the murder of Rachel Richstone by her jealous husband Manfred Richstone over her alleged affair with fortune hunter Edmund Snyder. As the crowning glory of this grisly new exhibit, Mr. Dumfrey engages sculptor and friend of the museum, Siegfried “Freckles” Eckleberger, to design the heads for the unfortunate trio. When Freckles turns up murdered after completing the assignment, the children know something is seriously wrong. Add to this the news that the evil Professor Rattigan has escaped from jail, and the arrival of a divisive new performer to the museum, and their entire world is thrown into chaos. Will the children discover the identity of their friend Freckles’ murderer? Will they escape the threat of Professor Rattigan? Will the museum fold under financial pressure?
Lauren Oliver has again created a twisty, complex, and engaging mystery for the middle grade set. Even the minor characters leap off the page with her description. Oliver is a gifted storyteller and has hit on real genius with these stories of four youngsters with unusual gifts. I heartily recommend this addition to the series for any collection serving 3rd through 6th graders.
From the jacket copy:
In this second book in the exceptional Curiosity House series by bestselling author Lauren Oliver and shadowy recluse H. C. Chester, four extraordinary children must avenge their friend’s death, try to save their home, and unravel the secrets of their past . . . before their past unravels them.
Pippa, Sam, Thomas, and Max are happy to be out of harm’s way now that the notorious villain Nicholas Rattigan is halfway across the country in Chicago. But unfortunately their home, Dumfreys’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders, is in danger of closing its doors forever.
But their troubles only get worse. The four friends are shocked when their beloved friend, famous sculptor Siegfried Eckleberger, is murdered. As they investigate, they find clues that his death may be tied to the murder of a rich and powerful New York heiress, as well as to their own pasts.
This is the second book in the series and so boasts many wondrous and mysterious things inside, such as:
· Howie, the “Human Owl,” whose head turns just about all the way around
· A mean but important house cat
· Some perfectly ghastly wax sculptures
· A very thin boy named Chubby
· An awful mechanical leg
It continues not to have:
· A cautionary tale about running with scissors
· A list of time-consuming chores
· Nutritious and decidedly not delicious vegetables
· A perfectly sweet bedtime story about a wayward bunny
· Two wet kisses on the cheek from your aunt Mildred
Curiosity House: The Screaming Statue will be on sale May 3, 2016.
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About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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