For those of you who missed the write-up about Patrick Carman visiting my local book store, you can find it by clicking HERE!
By Patrick Carman
272 Pages / Ages 9+
Published in September 2011 by Scholastic Press
The Whippet Hotel is an unusual place to stay and Leo (the maintenance man’s son) finds it’s a REALLY unusual place to live. Every floor of the hotel is something different. There are secret rooms, secret floors and a lot of unusual guests (including ducks). The whole place is a maze! Mr. Whippet (the owner) and Leo become friends and Leo loves living in and exploring the strange hotel.
When Mr. Whippet unexpectedly disappears, even stranger things happen at the hotel and the building starts to fall apart. Leo finds clues around the hotel. Clues that someone is leaving him in boxes. Clues that can help Leo save the Whippet Hotel if he can solve them.
I thought this story was AWESOME from the beginning to the end. The Whippet Hotel is just cool (my favorite room is the pinball room) and Mr. Carman’s story really gave me a good idea of what it would be like to live there. I really got into the story. The book is exciting because of the mystery in the story and also some of the rooms (like the train room) were very cool to read about. Leo is good main character. He is very likeable. My favorite character though was Merganzer Whippet the owner of the hotel. You learn a lot about him even when his character is missing! The book would be great for young advanced readers because there’s no real scary parts and no violence. This has to be one of the best stories I have read this year!
Ryan and Sarah are best friends. They live in a boring town that used to be a busy gold-mining town. The only thing interesting about the place is it’s name, Skeleton Creek. Really the town became Skeleton Creek not too long ago (in 1959), it used to be called Linkford. Sarah and Ryan decide to do some investigating to find out why the town had it’s name changed. What they found was a mystery. Weird things started to happen in Skeleton Creek and the friend’s investigation leads them to a haunted, abandoned gold mining dredge. When they decide to investigate the dredge (at night), Ryan falls and breaks his leg. Ryan and Sarah’s parents tell them they can’t be friends any longer and forbid them to talk but Ryan and Sarah send secret notes back and forth and continue to uncover the mystery of the dredge and Skeleton Creek. Ryan continues to do research online at home and keeps a journal of his findings while Sarah records her findings by video. What they find is that there is something on the dredge that someone doesn’t want them to find and they can’t trust anyone in the town of Skeleton Creek.
I really like how the book is part video (Sarah’s video records) and part written (Ryan’s Journal -there are pass codes in the book that unlock the videos online). The fact that you have to go to a website to watch the video to get parts of the story is a cool idea for putting some technology into reading. I also like how you are getting the story from 2 different kids. I like Ryan’s character a lot. He is a good detective. I am not really fond of super scary books. This book is VERY creepy but not overly scary plus the mystery of Skeleton Creek and the investigating that Ryan and Sarah do really makes a great story. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger kids who get scared easily (especially a couple of the videos –my Mom even got scared at them). The book ends in a cliff hanger but don’t worry there are four book in total in the series and they are all out ready to be read (and watched)!
When I started reading this book I didn’t know what a dredge was and I was thinking it was some ground digging machine kind of like a giant tractor with some mean digging blades and I didn’t think a haunted tractor was to scary…but then I looked up what a gold dredge machine was online and found that the dredges are HUGE like the size of 2 houses!
To learn more about Mr. Carman and his books, click HERE!