Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head
Harper Collins Canada
By Lauren Oliver, H. C. Chester
Synopsis from Harper Collins Canada:
The book is about, among other things: the strongest boy in the world, a talking cockatoo, a faulty mind reader, a beautiful bearded lady and a nervous magician, an old museum, and a shrunken head. 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.
Those interested in the odd and a little mystery will be drawn right in to Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head. Thrust together by their odd abilities and close quarters (living in a large attic room in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum), four kids face murder and mystery that threatens the life they know. Pippa, Thomas, Sam, and Max must work together, sometimes calling on their unique talents, to save Mr Dumfrey from a murder charger and stop the museum from being closed.
While the kids encounter adult characters, like the grumpy museum maintenance man Potts and the headline grabbing journalist Evans, the kids take the lead. Young readers will relate to these lead characters as they struggle with their past and own self-doubt along with their desire to fit in and belong. They create an unlike family and friendship.
The story weaves in a few hints, giving readers a sense of satisfaction that they’ve solved the mystery, only to drop a new discovery that changes everything. The multiple peaks of anticipation makes Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head a book that will keep young mystery readers eagerly flipping pages. The story of family created from unlikely friendships is a lovely layer that adds more depth to the story. The story continues in the second book Curiosity House: The Screaming Statue.