|Dr. Fell and the playground of doom|
Author: Neilsen, David
Three children must defeat a mysterious doctor who builds an irresistible and dangerous playground in their neighborhood and then uses his power to heal children who get injured--stealing some of their life essence in the process.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 6.30
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 185675
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 8.30
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 69389
Kirkus Reviews (-) (05/15/16)
School Library Journal (06/01/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2016 Gr 5–7—Imagine a playground that fuses medieval castles, pirate ships, and zombie-infested wastelands. Dr. Fell, an elderly man always clad in a bright purple suit with matching top hat, creates a dream play structure with a slide, secret doors, and multiple levels, earning the respect of nearly every child on Hardscrabble Street. Three kids, Jerry, Nancy, and Gail, however, observe oddities that lead them to question Dr. Fell. How is he able to heal broken bones that occur on his playground in mere hours? How can he miraculously make a heart beat again? Why are no adults worried about the multitude of injuries befalling children on his playground? Is he a doctor or a magician? In this mix of mystery, science fiction, and realism, with a twist of horror, readers experience the abnormal events along with the protagonists. Neilsen delicately leaves clues for readers to braid together, continuing to create intrigue surrounding Dr. Fell. While the story and plot are strong, the main characters and neighborhood setting feel dated. The childlike illustrations; the naïveté of Nancy, Gail, and Jerry; and the notion of a neighborhood playground may strike tween readers as inauthentic in 2016. The simple sentence structure and basic vocabulary make this a straightforward read. VERDICT Recommended for school libraries that need to breathe life into their traditional mystery collections.—Mary-Brook J. Townsend, Episcopal Collegiate School Library, Little Rock, AK - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 08/01/2016 Elderly, mysterious Dr. Fell purchases the abandoned house at the end of Hardscrabble Street. The next day, he creates an unbelievable play structure: castle, spaceship, pirate ship, and post-apocalyptic wasteland. The neighborhood kids are all over it, with only three (Gail, Jerry, and Nancy) immune to the allure. Their suspicions grow when children hurt on the structure heal almost immediately. Why do all the adults and children walk around in a daze? Why does Dr. Fell seem to grow less decrepit as time passes? It’s up to Jerry, Nancy, and Gail to save their town—if they can even save themselves. Dr. Fell, with his purple top hat, archaic speech, and creepy home with pictures of kittens blanketing the walls, makes for an enticing villain. Character names—Gloomfellow, Hazardfall, Sparkledink—rival Dickens, while frequent cartoon illustrations keep the story’s spook level at mild. Deliciously dark, funny, and foreboding, Neilsen’s first novel delivers with broad appeal. Readers will keep an anxious eye peeled for Dr. Fell as they await his next. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.