Author: Kirby, Matthew J.
As mysterious circumstances bring Giuseppe, Frederick, and Hannah together, their lives soon interlock like the turning gears in a clock and they realize that each one holds a key to solving the others' mysteries.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 15.0 Quiz: 140350
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 23.0 Quiz: 49826
Common Core Standards
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Kirkus Reviews (10/01/10)
School Library Journal (11/01/10)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (12/10)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/15/2010 In his ambitious novel, Kirby weaves together a good amount of reliably alluring elements. Initially distinct plotlines follow three children in an unspecified Victorian-era-ish American city: Giuseppe plays the fiddle on street corners for spare change, hoping to have enough left over after paying his wicked padrone for a ticket back to Italy; Hannah works as a hotel maid where she learns of a hidden treasure that may save her ailing father; and Frederick, an apprentice clockmaker, figures that the automaton he is crafting in secret will allow him to become a journeyman. The trio of strands coheres nicely as Kirby twists wisps of mysticism into the clockwork elements, clear-eyed environmentalism into the dour urban grittiness, and a timeless sense of family and friendship into the bold, can-do adventuring. Though he sometimes spells things out a little too bluntly and can’t escape a bit of contrivance to wrap everything up in the end, this remains a strong debut effort with memorable characters, hearty action, and palpable atmospherics. - Copyright 2010 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2010 Gr 5–7—Giuseppe is an orphan, living as a violin-playing busker under the thumb of an evil padrone named Stephano. Frederick is apprenticed to Master Branch, a clockmaker, while in secret trying to create a clockwork automaton in the form of a man. Hannah is a maid at a hotel, trying to support her family, and particularly her desperately ill father. Giuseppe finds a green violin that sounds more beautiful than anything he has ever heard, which he hopes will earn him the money for passage back to Italy. Frederick is hoping to pass his exams to become a journeyman, but he can't seem to find a way to make his automaton work just right. Hannah is nearly fired from her position, but then is given a job by the mysterious Mrs. Pomeroy, who is living in the hotel. There is talk of a treasure somewhere in the hotel's hidden passageways that would give Hannah the money she needs to make her father well. As fate (or coincidence) would decree, the paths of these three young people become interconnected. Only together can they find the way to solve their problems. What starts out as a promising retro-style adventure falls apart at the end with too many sequences of the kids in peril and an ill-advised and poorly handled sequence in which Frederick's clockwork man becomes animated. Still, The Clockwork Three shows promise and may be enjoyed by fans of Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic, 2007).—Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO - Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 12/01/2010 Giuseppe, virtually enslaved to a cruel padrone, is a young street fiddler who wants to return to Italy; Frederick, a clockmaker’s apprentice, is an orphan longing for the independence that journeyman status would confer; Hannah, a hotel maid, is the sole support of her family. Although it seems that mere coincidence causes their paths to cross in this unspecified historical urban milieu, each is critical to fulfilling the dreams of the other two. The tie that binds their fortunes is a treasure that once belonged to a city founder and now, clues imply, lies hidden in a local park. Hannah, temporarily employed by mysterious hotel guest Madame Pomeroy, is the connection to the hotelier who witnessed a missing will; Frederick, who has stolen a piece of a historical automaton that could help him with his own intricate journeyman project, is the connection to the Archer Museum and its shady director; and Giuseppe, who hides his valuable violin at night in a crypt, is the connection to the deceased man who was key in the disposition of the treasure. Each of the adolescents has good reason to mistrust the others, but by working together they close in on the secret behind an invaluable legacy and keep one another alive. This could all have been an elaborate exercise in plotting were it not for the careful development of the protagonists’ backstories. Kirby gives enough context for the period setting to make the children’s marginalized circumstances plausible and their vulnerability convincing. The particulars of the overwrought mystery itself may quickly fade from memory, but the interdependence of three needy kids and the often eccentric adults who support them is likely to linger. EB - Copyright 2010 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.