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Author: Gannon, Nicholas
An eccentric like all Helmsleys, eleven-year-old Archer escapes his overprotective mother and recruits two friends, Oliver and Adelaide, to help him plan a rescue of his long-lost grandparents, world-famous explorers who disappeared atop an iceberg in the Antarctic.
Doldrums, Bk. 1
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.00
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 177138
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 67203
Kirkus Reviews (+) (06/01/15)
School Library Journal (08/01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 07/01/2015 Archer Helmsley lives in a peculiar house filled with the treasures his grandparents, famous explorers, have collected during their journeys. Surrounded by the spoils of adventure, Archer longs for excitement, but after he learns some terrible news—his grandparents are lost at sea, stranded on an iceberg, and surely dead—his mother insists he never leave the house (except for school), lest he get any ideas about exploring the world himself. That only strengthens Archer’s resolve, of course, and with the help of his friends, he concocts a plan to stow away on a ship to Antarctica to find his grandparents, whom he is convinced are still alive. But first, he will have to survive his controlling mother and awful new teacher, who rivals Roald Dahl’s Miss Trunchbull in horribleness. Though Gannon’s debut gets off to a slow start and some of the happenings occasionally seem a bit pointless, his warm-toned, fine-lined illustrations, full of delicately quirky details, help carry the offbeat atmosphere and whimsical story. Hand to fans of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2015 Gr 4–6—Ever since Archer's adventurous grandparents disappeared on an iceberg in Antarctica, his mother has been excessively overprotective. As a result, Archer has created a rich life for himself, largely played out in his imagination. When a mysterious package arrives from his supposedly deceased grandparents, it is all the motivation Archer needs to hatch a plan to rescue them. With the help of his newfound friends, Adelaide and Oliver, Archer begins to prepare for his trip to Antarctica. The story gently unfolds from there, with the children spending a large portion of their time preparing for the journey. The protagonists are lonely and isolated in their own way, and they (and readers) eventually realize that all their planning is not about the adventure after all but, rather, about the companionship and camaraderie they find in one another. The adults in the story are quirky and caricaturelike; the evil Mrs. Murkley is the spitting image of Matilda's Miss Trunchbull, and Adelaide's father is an eccentric flibbertigibbet. Overall, the story is appealing, with sweet, quiet moments of friendship and well-crafted metaphors and a focus on character development over action. The work features approximately 20 pieces of full-color artwork as well as black-and-white spot illustrations. VERDICT This whimsical coming-of-age story has a touch of mystery that will endear it to fans of Roald Dahl.—Laura Lutz, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.