3 Below (Floors #2)

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3 Below (Floors #2)
Publisher
Age Range
10+
Release Date
September 01, 2012
ISBN
9780545255202
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Leo has explored the Whippet Hotel from top to bottom, discovering trains, flying goats, and mazes, and when he learns the secret beneath the hotel, a new adventure will begin.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Floored!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
I have promised myself I will never compare anyone to Roald Dahl. Only Roald Dahl is like Roald Dahl. Only he manages to be so perfectly creepy and so perfectly safe, all at once. Only he seems to manage to call things Snozzwhizzlers and Wangdoodles without sounding twee. Other writers do not every sound like Roald Dahl. They just don't. So I shan't ever invoke his name in a review of another book.

But if I were to compare Roald Dahl to another writer, which I'm not, I might compare him to Patrick Carman, but I won't, so there.

3 BELOW, the new Floors novel by Patrick Carman, is still a pretty darn good book. Set again in the marvelous, magical (sort of, not really) Whippet Hotel, this sequel to Floors starts with a wedding: Remi's mom and Leo's dad. Almost immediately, however, the newlyweds zoom off on a surprise honeymoon, and Leo and Remi are (to their delight) left entirely on their own to solve a major financial crisis.

The story balances delicately on the precipice of complete loopiness: there are tiny monkeys with detachable tails, Betty the Duck, a mad scientist, and some rather fizzy soda. Yet the key word here is balance. The story manages to include Floogers, giant ants, Zooooob, Flooooob, and Zooooob (all edible substances squirted from large hoses) without actually teetering off the edge and vanishing into the abyss of silliness.

That takes talent.

It would be too easy amid all that tom-foolery to lose sight of the characters, and if the kids aren't real, no reader is going to give a fig for what happens to them. Leo and Remi do feel real, and the writer gives them time to deal another momentous event -- the fact that they're now brothers.

And that's what makes it feel Dahl-ish, that somehow Patrick Carman has created an utterly ridiculous, silly, dangerous world -- and put two boys at the center whom you can imagine sitting next to in history class. That makes it seem real again, so much so that you might just be looking for the Whippet Hotel the next time you're wandering around Manhattan. If you do find it, say hi to the ducks for me.
Good Points
Perfectly balanced between real and unreal
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More wacky hotel adventures
(Updated: September 02, 2012)
Overall rating
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Remi and Leo's parents get married on the roof of the Whippet Hotel, and Merganzer Whippet shows up to send them off on a honeymoon, conveniently leaving the boys alone to solve the current problem -- the hotel owes $700,000 in back taxes. Not a problem, as long as the boys are willing to undertake a dangerous journey to the sub floors of the hotel to retrieve four Floogers, a zip rope, and the iron box. Since Ms. Sparks has returned with the grungy Mr. Carp and demanded the payment lest she herself buy the hotel, the boys venture with Betty the duck into a dangerous elevator that takes them into even weirder worlds below the hotel. Even with the help of burping monkeys, Dr. Flart and his delicious Flart's Fizz, a host of Mr. Whippet's helpers and even Mr. Carp, can the boys come up with the money and save the most sought-after piece of real estate in New York from falling into the wrong hands?


Good Points
This has a lot of fun things that younger readers will enjoy -- atomic burps, rooms full of cake, talking robots, and kids saving the day. Blurb after blurb compares this to Ellen Raskin or Roald Dahl, which is a fair comparison. I did like this better than the first book, Floors.
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