The Aviary

( 21 )

Overview

Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the Glendoveer mansion, where her mother is a servant to the kind and elderly matron of the house. Clara has never known another home. In fact, she's confined to the grand estate due to a mysterious heart condition. But it's a comfortable life, and if it weren't for the creepy squawking birds in the aviary out back, a completely peaceful one too.

But once old Mrs. Glendoveer passes away, Clara comes to learn many dark ...

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The Aviary

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Overview

Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the Glendoveer mansion, where her mother is a servant to the kind and elderly matron of the house. Clara has never known another home. In fact, she's confined to the grand estate due to a mysterious heart condition. But it's a comfortable life, and if it weren't for the creepy squawking birds in the aviary out back, a completely peaceful one too.

But once old Mrs. Glendoveer passes away, Clara comes to learn many dark secrets about the family. The Glendoveers suffered a horrific tragedy: their children were kidnapped, then drowned. And their father George Glendoveer, a famous magician and illusionist, stood accused until his death. As Clara digs deeper and deeper into the terrifying events, the five birds in the aviary seem to be trying to tell her something. And Clara comes to wonder: what is their true identity? Clara sets out to solve a decades-old murder mystery—and in doing so, unlocks a secret in her own life, too. Kathleen O'Dell deftly weaves magic, secret identities, evil villians, unlikely heroes, and the wonder of friendship into a mystery adventure with all the charm of an old fashioned classic.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It’s been a few years since readers have heard from O’Dell, apparently because she’s been getting her Frances Hodgson Burnett on. This Gilded Age departure from O’Dell’s contemporary fare depicts Clara Dooley, an 11-year-old invalid whose mother keeps the fabulous, mysterious house of a magician’s widow, Mrs. Glendoveer. The kindly widow has secrets, not least of which is her love for five terrifying birds that live in an iron cage in the garden, but she dies before Clara can discover more than that she had a baby who disappeared. Clara, lonely and rebellious, struggles to make contact with a neighbor, Daphne, despite her mother’s prohibitions. Daphne relays more gossip about the Glendoveers, but it’s not until Daphne’s kitten gets inside the aviary that Clara begins unraveling the truth. Nursing the injured honeycreeper, Clara believes the bird responds by “talking.” Can it be? The honeycreeper’s encouragement leads to discovery after discovery in a well-paced, high-tension mystery that draws not only on Burnett, but also C.S. Lewis, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, and Neil Gaiman, joining a rich heritage of stories about children with a secret “room of their own.” Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Eleven-year-old Clara Dooley is beginning to chafe against her closeted life in the old Glendoveer mansion. Despite her love for her over-protective mother, who cares for kindly Mrs. Glendoveer, now a bedridden invalid, Clara yearns for the freedom of life beyond the household walls, just as Mrs. Glendoveer's beloved ancient birds seem to fret and fume about their confinement within the bars of their aviary. But after an electrifying storm, one of the birds speaks to Clara, with just one word: "Elliot." Can this one-word clue lead Clara to understand why her mother keeps her shielded from public view and why her mother never speaks of her vanished father? And what really became of Mrs. Glendoveer's children who were kidnapped decades ago? All of their bodies were found drowned at sea, except for one: Elliot. O'Dell spins a mesmerizing and haunting tale in a deliciously old-fashioned, classic storytelling style; a tale of friendship, family, courage, old wrongs exposed and righted, and ultimate soaring liberation. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
Kirkus Reviews

In the early years of the 20th century, a 40-year-old mystery in a dead magician's crumbling mansion magically changes Clara Dooley's life forever.

Eleven years old and barely allowed out of the house due to her "weak heart," Clara and her mother live with ancient Mrs. Glendoveer. Mother nurses the widow and keeps the mansion in mostly working order with the help of cook Ruby. All of them tend the magician's five surviving birds, of various species, that live in the backyard aviary. When Clara hears the mynah shout "Elliott," she asks Mrs. Glendoveer who that might be, only to find it's the name of Mrs. Glendoveer's baby, who went missing decades before. When Mrs. Glendoveer dies shortly thereafter, Clara discovers that five other children vanished with Elliott; despite the impropriety, Clara begins to investigate with the help of Daphne, her new (and secret) friend from town. O'Dell jumps genres to great effect in this spooky, fantasy/mystery (Agnes Parker... Keeping Cool in Middle School, 2007, etc.). She evokes the period so well that (older) readers might suspect they're reading a lost collaboration between E. Nesbit and Agatha Christie. O'Dell reveals the mystery and magic incrementally, even as Clara simultaneously discovers her autonomy. Readers seeking instant gratification might not stick it out, but they'll be cheated out of an action-packed, page-turning finale.

An absorbing mix of talking birds, ghostly messages, kidnapped children, magic spells and tragic family secrets.(Historical fantasy. 9-12)

From the Publisher
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2011:
"An absorbing mix of talking birds, ghostly messages, kidnapped children, magic spells & tragic family secrets."

School Library Journal. November 1, 2011:
“O’Dell weaves a tapestry of hauntingly gorgeous imagery with this atmospheric tale of suspense, magic, and adventure. Readers will be captivated from the first page on.”

Booklist, October 1, 2011:
"O’Dell has crafted a terrific story with just the right degree of horror."

From the Hardcover edition.

School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—A crumbling seaside mansion is the only home 11-year-old Clara has ever known. Forbidden a normal childhood because of a weak heart, she lives her days in isolation, her only company being her housekeeper mother, Ruby the cook, and elderly Mrs. Glendoveer. There are the aviary birds, but Clara fears their piercing screeches. One stormy day a mynah screams the name: Elliot. A single inquiry leads Clara to a terrible story involving the kidnapping and drowning of the five oldest Glendoveer children and the disappearance of baby Elliot. The children's father, a famous magician, was blamed for the tragedy. Fueled by curiosity and the promise of friendship with a new girl, Clara digs deeper. The girls learn that the aviary birds are key to what really happened that fateful day and devise a plan to bring the real kidnapper to justice, find Elliot, and free the trapped souls of the Glendoveer children. In solving the mystery, Clara learns of her own connection to the Glendoveer family. O'Dell weaves a tapestry of hauntingly gorgeous imagery with this atmospheric tale of suspense, magic, and adventure. Readers will be captivated from the first page on.—Alissa J. LeMerise, Oxford Public Library, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375856051
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/13/2011
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 736,454
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 690L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

KATHLEEN O'DELL was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start Author for her much-praised debut novel, Agnes Parker . . . Girl in Progress. She's also the author of YA novel Bad Tickets on the Knopf list. She lives with her husband and sons in Glendale, California. 

To learn more about the author and her books, please visit www.kathleenodell.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    Seriously

    This book is like the best book ever. EVER!!! It even ranks up there with HP and the hunger games. Yep. I said it.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2012

    Great Read

    I loved this book. Great story and really kept me sucked in.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    A really enjoyable, light read

    With a likable protagonist and relatable characters, the aviary made me smile while reading it. The author really captures the reader in a little girl's adventure towards discovering her family ties with the help of unlikely feathered friends. A heartwarming tale with a happy ending and a dash of suspense.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    Cute ghostly mystery for middle-schoolers Clara Dooley has live

    Cute ghostly mystery for middle-schoolers

    Clara Dooley has lived her whole life in the decrepit Glendoveer mansion, where her mother is the care-taker of the elderly Mrs Glendoveer. Clara's mother keeps her hidden away from the outside world, claiming that Clara's health is fragile. At 12, Clara has come to an age where she wants to test her boundaries -  and just such an opportunity arrives when her elderly patron passes away, a new girl moves into the neighborhood, and the birds in the aviary begin to speak to her. With her new friend, Clara must discover the secrets of the Glendoveer mansion, and decide whether the birds are friends or foes.




    This was a cute little ghost story / mystery for children (probably girls) ages 9-12. It used the basic adults-don't-want-to-share-secrets format, while keeping the adults likable and intelligent. The two little girls were adorable and fun. And the birds, once they started developing characters, were a very interesting twist. I found this book an engaging and quick read. Highly recommended for lovers of middle-grade ghost stories / mysteries.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2013

    Wondering Question

    I love this book. But i want my friend also to read this book too when we go to the book club ( im the person who wrote that last review) but he is a boy and he loves the Harry Potter style. And i mean LOVE. Would he like this book also. Keep in mind he is a boy and im a girl so im okay with this stuff but im not too sure about him.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    Iluvthisbook

    This is the best book evah!!!!i love the part where clara talks to helen

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    Amazing!

    Loved it!! I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good mystery thats a little creepy a well. My current favorite as well

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    Anonymous

    The best book in the world! I couldn't put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2012

    What a great read! Couldn't put it down!

    What a great read! Couldn't put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2012

    This book da bomb

    This book is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    AMAZING!!!

    The Aviary is a must read for anyone who likes suspense and mystery. I highly recommend reading it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Good

    This book is great not the best but it still was really good

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    This is terrific!

    Great characters. Fabulous descriptions.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2012

    Yoni Kornblau This mystery novel is very compelling to read, an

    Yoni Kornblau

    This mystery novel is very compelling to read, and very dull at the same time. Clara Dooley who thinks she has a weak heart, is not allowed to leave the house, where her mother works as a helper. Clara, against her mom’s will, sneaks a neighborhood girl into her house every so often. Together, with the help of some birds, they uncover many mysteries about the owner’s family, the Glendovires. This basic summary of the book sounds really dull and completely boring, which is mainly how I view this book. Besides for the ending, which I won’t give away, the book is quite actionless.
    This novel is excellently written on the sentence-by-sentence level, but I think the plot development could use some sort of speed elixir. Even when the plot was actually starting to take place when I read it, I felt like I was still in a quasi- introduction mode. This type of style is quite discouraging to a reader who likes action books, so if you do, I wouldn’t recommend this book to you. In my opinion if the plot was condensed into a third of the current size, I think the book would be appealing to a more diverse audience.
    This book also has a very obvious ending which is predictable far before the turn of the last page, but I read to the end only because I was hoping for an unexpected plot twist. If you’re looking for a real mystery novel, stick to Sherlock Holmes or similar books.
    All in all, I didn’t find this a very interesting book, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. If you have the book at home, you might want to try reading it because people have different opinions, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it. I am generously rating this book 2stars, because I like how O’Dell handles the eerie topic of reincarnation. (I wouldn’t normally mention that because it’s a bit of a spoiler, but I want to justify my rating.)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews

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