|Hitch at the Fairmont|
Author: Averbeck, Jim
When his aunt is kidnapped, an eleven-year-old boy staying at San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel in 1956 tries to find her, with the help of Alfred Hitchcock.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 166972
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 63403
Kirkus Reviews (05/01/14)
School Library Journal (06/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (09/14)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2014 Gr 5–8—In 1956 at the fabulous San Francisco Fairmont Hotel, 11-year-old Jack teams up with the famous movie director Alfred Hitchcock to uncover a plot involving drugged chocolates, mistaken identities, kidnapping, disguises, and close escapes. References to actual Hitchcock films and anecdotes abound throughout, in chapter headings, settings, and focused descriptions reminiscent of camera pan-ins. At one point, Averbeck even goes so far as to have the clever Jack create a scene in which Hitchcock makes a sort-of cameo appearance in costume, just as the real Hitchcock used to do in his films. Each chapter begins with a short storyboard of upcoming scenes. Although few of the intended readers for this book will have prior knowledge of the milieu, the pacing and length of scenes are right out of a 1950s Hitchcock film: slow and lingering on set pieces and build-up, broken with quick and cinematic action sequences. The back matter introduces many of the author's favorite Hitchcock films, as well as information about the real man and the real Fairmont Hotel. This is a fantastic introduction to the great filmmaker and to a 1950s sensibility of childhood and Hollywood. Unfortunately, its very nature as a long and slowly unravelling historical mystery will likely deter any but the most open-minded readers: try this with the Blue Balliett or Trenton Lee Stewart fan set.—Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2014 After his actress mother runs her car off a California cliff, fatherless Jack is left to the mercy of his cold-hearted aunt Edith, who impounds all his and his mother’s belongings and whisks him off to her suite at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. There he makes the best of his new life as her dogsbody, fetching her chocolates, tidying her suite, cleaning up after her nasty pet chinchilla, and putting up with her persistent questions about any number codes he might recall from his mother. He returns from a routine errand to find Edith has disappeared, and since nobody in authority takes this seriously, he enlists the help of the guest in the suite next door, whom Jack recognizes as a maven of the mysterious: Alfred Hitchcock. Averbeck’s enthusiasm for the auteur shines in such details as chapter titles drawn from movie titles, references to Hitchcock’s work and life (or at least his own self-styled legend), and endnotes on the cited movies, with a spoiler alert regarding Hitchcock’s famed cameo appearances. However, none of this is successfully tied to the story of Jack’s predicament, and Hitchcock is an amiable gimmick rather than a character integral to the plot. Kids who have watched Alfred Hitchcock Hour reruns will make the most enthusiastic readers, but even naïfs will enjoy sniffing out the clues and puzzling out Nick Bertozzi’s storyboards, which open each chapter. EB - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.