The House With A Clock In It’s Walls by John Bellairs

What a great little book. The House with a Clock in it’s Walls is the first book in a trilogy written by John Bellairs. They are all collected in a book I’m reading called “The Best of John Bellairs” but I decided to review them individually. I’m reading the second book in the trilogy, The Figure in the Shadows, for the Banned Book Challenge.

The House with a Clock in It’s Walls is about a young boy named Lewis who’s parents have died recently and has now gone to live with his uncle Jonathan. His uncle Jonathan is this wonderfully strange man who lives in a wonderfully strange mansion with a wonderfully strange neighbor by the name of Mrs. Zimmerman. Lewis soon learns that Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmerman both dabble in magic…he also learns of a clock buried in the walls of the mansion, and of his uncle’s strange obsession with clocks.

Lewis is also going through a rough adjustment process. He’s in a new town with new relatives and is trying to make friends. But he’s a little chubby kid who’s horrible at sports. When one of the popular boys at school shows an interest in him, he does everything he can to keep him as a friend. He goes as far as jumping into aspects of magic and necromancy that he knows nothing about. In doing so, Lewis may have awakened something that can’t be put back to rest.

I really enjoyed this first book in the trilogy that was illustrated perfectly by Edward Gorey. This would be a perfect selection for anyone looking for something for the R.I.P. challenge. This book is a hardcover book that contains 3 full novels for $9.99 so it’s a great deal. I found my copy at Barnes and Noble and you can click on the link above to get it through their website. The first novel is illustrated by Gorey, the second by Mercer Mayer, and the third by Richard Egielski, who I’m not familiar with.


12 Responses

  1. I had never heard of this, but even before I read your review, the cover drew me immediately. I really like what you said about the story, and plus, Edward Gorey illustrations? *adds to wishlist*

  2. I hadn’t heard of this one either before this challenge Nymeth, but when I saw Gorey’s name attached I had to read it…very happy I did. They were published back in the 70’s. I’m surprised they’re not better known.

  3. It sounds like a wonderful book. I’ll be adding it to my TBR list, too.


  4. It was CJ…I really enjoyed it…Looking forward to the other 2 books in the series!

  5. do you ever give a bad review Chris? lol. you love everything you read ! (thank goodness, ’cause though we get the bargain now and then like that book is.. it still gets expensive to keep reading)

  6. I rarely dislike a book Deslily…the first book that I didn’t like this year was Grendel by John Gardner. I read that one a week or two ago. Just couldn’t get into it. I usually only review the ones I like because I just feel bad trashing books :p So you’ll mostly only here good reviews from me 🙂 But this one was a real treat. A really fast, fan read…no brain power needed for this one…just the way I like them sometimes.

  7. I love this series! I can’t tell you how often I recommend this book to kids who come into my library who (insert sigh of disgust here and/or sarcastic roll of eyes) “have to” read a book. Usually they come back to ask me which one comes next, heh heh. And I rub my hands together and give an evil, gleeful laugh, thinking, my work here is done…

  8. Darla, I’m so glad someone else has heard of it! I’m about to start The Figure in the Shadows for the Banned Books Challenge right now. Can’t wait!

  9. I know I read this when I was a kid, but I don’t remember it at all. What I do remember is that this book, along with a book of ghost stories (both that I checked out of the public library) cemented my love of the work of Edward Gorey.

  10. Oh it was great Carl! I wish I would’ve read this as a kid. The follow up is just as good. Almost finished with that one. Great series. I’m surprised I had never heard of it before!

  11. I’ve never heard of this book either! But it’s the cover that looks great. I’m one of those people that can totally be swayed to read a book because of the cover!

  12. I’m the same way Stephanie…I’m definitely guilty of buying books based solely on their covers :p

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