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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kid Konnection: Floors by Patrick Carman

Floors by Patrick Carman (Rated: C)
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0545255196
Published Sept 1, 2011
Hardcover, 272 pages

I loved the cover of this book from the moment I set my eyes on it. The story of Leo, the 10 year-old janitor's son who lives with his dad in the most unique and whacky Whippet Hotel promises adventure and mystery. While it did deliver on adventure and some mystery, it didn't quite meet my high expectations of it. I've read other books by Patrick Carman and loved them, while I only liked this one.

I read this book with my 10 year-old daughter who liked it more than me because she kept trying to guess the mystery of why Merganzer D. Whippet, the hotel owner just up and left the hotel without a word and why Leo is now getting cryptic boxes with messages that lead him to discover hidden floors and strange instructions with riddles that are at once exciting as they are dangerous. The hotel is falling apart and it seems someone is scheming to sell it before the owner decides to show up. Leo feels it's up to him to save his beloved hotel.

Most of the adventure takes place within two days, and sometimes I found some of the scenes in this 272 page book dragged. Leo figured out the riddles too easily, and I couldn't always understand why he was being asked to do certain things. The mystery is solved at the end, and I have to admit I expected more of a twist. My daughter liked the ending, though, and was surprised.

Perhaps I felt this way because there was little character development. Leo was a great kid, but I didn't know much about him besides the fact that he loved living at the Whippet Hotel. The famous whacky inventor Merganzer D. Whippet is revealed only through Leo's thoughts and letters read from a folder. I didn't think this was a good tactic for a middle-grade book. I would rather have gotten to know him through actions and dialogue. For me the best character was Ms. Sparks, the hotel manager with the beehive hairdo and a mean streak. I could easily picture her--very alive with her high-pitched voice and towering hair, controlling and manipulative. My daughter liked Leo.

The best part of the book are the descriptions of the rooms, such as the Room of Ponds and Caves which actually has ponds where ducks can swim and caves where one can hide, or the Cake Room that contains every imaginable type of cake in every size. Yum! This book would make a fantastic movie and it reminded me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I do think that kids who love mystery, adventure and fantasy will like this one even if at times they may wish it moves along a little faster.

I will count this book toward the following challenges: Middle-grade Book Challenge

Disclosure: Thanks to Nikole Kritikos from Scholastic Canada for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

Every Saturday, Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection—a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, visit Booking Mama.

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3 comments :

  1. I'm going to trust your daughter's opinion on this one since she's in the target age group.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're so lucky to have a ten-year old daughter to share opinions of MG books! It's so hard for me to judge. My niece is ten but I can't get her to read anything unless it has dogs or horses in it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah. I get what you mean. Sometimes I think I don't know what's "good" because I'm so far removed from the targeted audience.

    ReplyDelete

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