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Author: Graff, Keir
Eleven-year-old Brian's summer turns out a lot less boring than expected when he encounters a huge, wacky house in the forest and befriends the eccentric family that lives there.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 188752
Kirkus Reviews (11/01/16)
School Library Journal (01/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2017 Gr 4–6—The last thing Brian wants to do is spend his summer with his aunt and uncle in Boring, IL. But since his scientist father is in Antarctica for the season, Brian is shipped off to the town that lives up to its name. Online summer school and his standoffish cousin, Nora, don't help matters. Then a fight between the cousins leads Brian and Nora to a large wooden house in the woods, and things finally start to get more interesting. The house belongs to an incredibly eccentric family who refer to the ramshackle building as a castle. The summer takes off with adventures thanks to Brian and Nora's new friend, Cosmo van Dash, the house's youngest resident. The trio encounter everything from wild boars and giant wasps to having to deal with a crazy bureaucrat who wants to destroy the "castle." This quirky novel is reminiscent of a Wes Anderson movie for the tweenage set. Strange families, dilapidated houses that may or may not be legitimate deathtraps, and oddball characters abound. The plot is winsome and well-thought-out, and the characters are likable. The van Dash uncles are goofy and will earn several laughs from readers. VERDICT For those who enjoy a bit of absurdist humor with their realism. Purchase where wacky middle grade adventure stories circulate well.—Paige Garrison, The Davis Academy, Sandy Springs, GA - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 01/01/2017 Editor’s note: It is Booklist policy that a book written or edited by a staff editor receive a brief descriptive announcement rather than a full review. This Willy Wonka–esque romp introduces luckless 11-year-old Brian, doomed to spend the summer with an uncle determined to use Brian and his cousin, Nora, as guinea pigs for his experimental educational software. The town’s name? Boring, Illinois. Enter Cosmo van Dash, an exuberant, energetic Peter Pan type who lives in the adjacent forest inside a towering, patchwork, and entirely illogical “Matchstick Castle,” beloved home to the blustery, self-involved, yet lovable clan of van Dashes—think The Royal Tenenbaums for the middle-grade set. There, the three new friends battle giant wasps, wild boars, and the dilapidation of the castle itself. Things get noticeably less boring for Brian and Nora after they plunge deeper into the mansion—first to help find poor Kingsley van Dash, the would-be genius author who has been lost somewhere inside the house for an entire year, and second, to fight against the city of Boring itself and a bureaucrat’s dastardly plans to tear down the Matchstick Castle. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.