The Matchstick Castle
Brian can think of a few places he'd rather spend his summer than with his aunt and uncle in Boring, Illinois. Jail, for example. Or an earplug factory. Anything would be better than doing summer school on a computer while his scientist dad is stationed at the South Pole.
Boring lives up to its name until Brian and his cousin Nora have a fight, get lost, and discover a huge, wooden house in the forest. With balconies, turrets, and windows seemingly stuck on at random, it looks ready to fall over in the next stiff breeze. To the madcap, eccentric family that lives inside, it’s not just a home—it’s a castle.
Suddenly, summer gets a lot more exciting. With their new friends, Brian and Nora tangle with giant wasps, sharp-tusked wild boars, and a crazed bureaucrat intent on bringing the dangerously dilapidated old house down with a wrecking ball.
This funny, fantastical story will resonate with any reader who’s ever wished a little adventure would find them.
Any book that involves magical houses is one that I enjoy, and while this was a little light on magic, it was certainly an imposing edifice full of danger. As an adult, I was rather concerned about Brian's safety when he tried to get between upper floors of the house that were falling to bits, but young readers will find this to be an enthralling adventure full of pulse-pounding circumstances.
The cover is a great one-- I wish that the interior of the book had a few pictures as well, but the prose descriptions paint a vivid portrait. This would make a fun movie, as the set would be as much a character as Brian or Nora. Hand this one to readers who like quirky adventure with odd and unusual characters.