Alistair Grim’s Odditorium

odditoriumWritten by Gregory Funaro

“I am Grubb, of course. That’s right, no first or last name, just Grubb. Spelled like the worm but with a double b, in case you plan on writing it down someday. I was Mr. Grim’s apprentice–the boy who caused all the trouble.” (p. 4) Twelve year old (or thereabouts) Grubb escapes his life as a chimney sweep, in Victorian England, and his surly foster father and winds up in a bizarre house, The Odditorium, that is filled with all manner of fantastic and magical objects and creatures. He becomes apprentice to the mysterious Mr. Grim, who has harnessed a magical power that puts them at dangerous odds with diabolical and evil forces.

I loved this book. I started reading it one evening and literally did not put it down until I finished in the wee hours of the morning. The author, Gregory Funaro, blends fantasy, magic, adventure, mystery, steampunk and love, which to me, created a totally original story. I grew so fond of Grubb as he tells his tale in first person narrative. Mr. Funaro has also captured the English dialect so well that I could hear it perfectly in my head. There are so many wonderful characters in this novel, both good and evil. There is a definite line drawn between them. (The back of the book lists all the characters for reference.) There is also a subtle theme of love and family that flows throughout. The soft black and white illustrations visually enhance the story. If you love Dickens and steampunk, read Alistair Grim’s Odditorium. And just so you know, there are a few loose ends to clue in the reader another book is coming! Yeah!!

Review by Renee Larsen, Hillside Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 3-6 and Up

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Alistair Grim’s Odditorium
Written by Gregory Funaro
Disney Hyperion
412 pages
Release Date: January 6, 2015

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