Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway- Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester

Pages: 368
Genre: Middle Grade
Pub. Date: September 29, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Before I Fall
Delirium and Vanishing Girls
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "What you will find in this book: – A rather attractive bearded lady– Several scandalous murders – A deliciously disgusting Amazonian shrunken head– Four extraordinary children with equally extraordinary abilities – A quite loquacious talking bird.  Blessed with extraordinary abilities, orphans Philippa, Sam, and Thomas have grown up happily in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. But when a fourth child, Max, a knife-thrower, joins the group, it sets off an unforgettable chain of events. When the museum’s Amazonian shrunken head is stolen, the four are determined to get it back. But their search leads them to a series of murders and an explosive secret about their pasts.  This sensational new series combines the unparalleled storytelling gifts of Lauren Oliver with the rich knowledge of the notorious relics collector H.C. Chester.  What you will NOT find in this book: – An accountant named Seymour – A never-ending line at the post office – Brussel sprouts (shudder) – A lecture on finishing all your homework on time – A sweet, gooey story for nice little girls and boys."
At Dumfrey's Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders, a person can see many unusual things. like relics, mummies, a bearded lady and more.  It's 1930 New York City and everyone is intrigued by the items found at the museum, especially with the arrival of the new Amazonian shrunken head.  Philippa, Sam, Pippa and Max are all orphans and live at the museum, but they aren't like other children. They all have extraordinary abilities, which makes them part of the appeal at the museum.  Things start to get serious though when a customer suddenly dies after seeing the Amazonian shrunken head.  Then they come to find the head has been stolen right from underneath them.  Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester's Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head is a fun start to an quirky middle grade series filled with mystery and adventure.

There's something old school about Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head that reminds me of the many mysteries I read as a kid.  I love that four very unusual children are determined to solve a murder mystery and figure out who did it all set in the backdrop of 1930s New York City.  Such a fun setting for a mystery!

Oliver's writing is pretty good in Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head. She includes many red herrings and beautiful language, while still making it accessible to middle grade readers.  Also, I thought it was really interesting when I learned that  Lauren Oliver collaborated with her father, H.C. Chester, who is a relic collector. How fun is that?

I also love the many beautiful illustrations included in Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head. It really added to the story and we all know middle grade kids really appreciate this.

You'll want to pick up a copy of Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head for your favorite middle grade mystery lover and it will be especially enjoyable to read this fall/Halloween season.  

Thanks to HarperCollins, I have a hardback copy of Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head to giveaway to one lucky US reader.  Please refer to my giveaway rules and the deadline is October 9, 2015.  Good luck!

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  1. I think I would have liked this when I was a kid especially with the idea of kids living in a museum and a murder mystery to solve. I'll have to tell our children's librarian about this for our middle grade collection. Nice review!

    1. Me too! I would have loved it as a kid! Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  2. Ah cool! I've been interested in reading this one anyhow, but I didn't know the co-author was her father! That's so fun! :D

    1. I know! Isn't that adorable? I hope you get to read it soon, Becky. Thanks for visiting!

  3. I thought this was a great book and it was difficult to put down. It is somewhat easy to guess whodunit but even if you think you have it all figured out, don't be so sure. This is a good book for young readers and even though there is murder involved it is nothing too grisly or descriptive that could cause nightmares. Good mystery!

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