The Family Hitchcock

( 5 )

Overview

Finances are tight for theHitchcock family this year,which means no summervacation! But siblings Maddy andBenji are secretly delighted to escapethe annual torturous ritual of familybonding. Then Dad announces bignews: a cost-effective weeklong houseswap in Paris, trading places with aFrench family named the Vadims.

But instead of a relaxing Europeanvacation, it quickly becomes clearthat something is very off about thishouse swap. The facts about theVadims don’t quite add up. ...

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The Family Hitchcock

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Overview

Finances are tight for theHitchcock family this year,which means no summervacation! But siblings Maddy andBenji are secretly delighted to escapethe annual torturous ritual of familybonding. Then Dad announces bignews: a cost-effective weeklong houseswap in Paris, trading places with aFrench family named the Vadims.

But instead of a relaxing Europeanvacation, it quickly becomes clearthat something is very off about thishouse swap. The facts about theVadims don’t quite add up. Thenthreatening characters start showingup, demanding a mysterious object.Soon the Hitchcocks are caught ina whirl of intrigue and running fortheir lives through the streets andover the rooftops of Paris, withouteven knowing why.

Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett,a Hollywood writer-director-producerteam, make their children’s bookdebut with this hilarious, actionpackedcaper.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Based on a planned film that Levin and Flackett, the husband-and-wife screenwriting team behind Nim's Island and Journey to the Center of the Earth, sold to production company New Regency in 2008, this caper, written by Elish (13), follows the Hitchcock family's tumultuous adventures after they swap houses with a Parisian family, the Vadims. The vacation gets off to a rocky start with seventh grader Maddy bitter about missing her crush's big party, certain that her parents are getting divorced, and butting heads with her mother ("still beautiful at age forty") and her fact-spouting, "boy genius" younger brother, Benji. After the Hitchcocks arrive in France, suspicious characters soon appear, threats loom, and the plot thickens when Maddy reads about a stolen object in Veronique Vadim's diary. The narrative focuses mainly on Maddy and Benji, but also gives insight into their parents' thoughts and motivations as the Hitchcocks use their individual strengths to get back to Chicago alive. Though fairly ordinary, it's an entertaining and high-energy story of mistaken identities and international intrigue. The ample suspense and feisty family dynamics ought to keep readers invested. Ages 9–up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
The two Hitchcock children—thirteen-year-old Maddy and her obnoxiously gifted little brother, Benji—have had all they can take of the family's summer vacation tradition. Maddy would rather check out cute boys at the pool; Benji would rather play Beethoven sonatas and program computers at sleep-away camp. Even their parents seem to be growing apart. But when their father decides on a two-week house swap with a Parisian family, the Vadims, the kids have no choice but go along. And when they do, they find out they have all unwittingly signed up for the family vacation of their lives. Why does the family who arrives at their house in Chicago bear no resemblance to the photos of the family at the apartment in Paris? Why is the handsome man from the American Embassy so attentive to their mother when she faints at the Eiffel Tower? Why does an Algerian man accost their father at the opera asking incomprehensible questions about something called "the MGF?" Does Veronique Vadim's diary contain the answer? Can they decode it in time? If only Maddy hadn't gotten that C minus in French! Levin and Flackett deliver a suspenseful romp across the rooftops of Paris, blending family tensions with international espionage while giving more than a nod to the storytelling style and strategies of the great Hitchcock himself. If the Hitchcock family does decide to head off next to Rio, readers are likely to want to tag along for the wild ride. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—This first novel relates the Hitchcocks' entertaining, albeit unlikely, vacation. When Mr. Hitchcock arranges a house swap, the family reluctantly goes to Paris while the suave Vadims come to the States. It quickly becomes apparent that the Hitchcocks have found themselves right in the middle of an international incident involving theft, secret formulas to end world hunger, kidnapping, and murder. Maddy, 13, cannot get along with her mother or younger brother, who is a genius, but the family must work through their personal issues in order to survive the summer; death is always lurking around the corner. The plot-driven story is preposterous fun with genuine touches of emotion about family dynamics. Fans of Polly Horvath's Everything on a Waffle (Farrar, 2001) should enjoy this comical romp.—B. Allison Gray, Goleta Public Library, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061893940
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/23/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,042,084
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 580L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 15, 2012

    This is an excellent story. It's an exciting adventure in Paris

    This is an excellent story. It's an exciting adventure in Paris and every member of the family contributes to surviving to vacation another day.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    A very exciting book

    I am only 13 n this book was totally gripping a must read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2013

    Mark Levin?

    :D

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    Offensive for certain demographics… I will be posting th

    Offensive for certain demographics…

    I will be posting this review on various websites so that the message can get out there.

    I am an elementary school librarian in the Los Angeles area and I have to say that I really had very high hopes for “The Family Hitchcock.” I was excited and fairly certain that this would be a good addition to my collection... a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan myself, I figured ‘what a fabulous way to introduce the young ones in our school to the classic style, mystery, twists and fun that personify this director’s artistic style.’ Unfortunately, this is definitely not the case with this book.

    The story begins by following the trend of portraying this Hitchcock family as the typical “modern family” that we have been berated with for basically the last 20 years, and that I am now personally sick of. So if you happen to be someone interested in reading something with originality, don’t bother. Basically- a messy dysfunctional family with teenagers embark on a family trip that, very obviously from the beginning of the story, will bring them all closer together. Ta-da! How Hollywood… shouldn’t be a surprise when you look at who wrote the story though.

    However, the determining factor for me about this book was a line that actually is very offensive to those who happen to be vegetarians. It all starts when the father in the story informs them that they will be doing a house swap with another family instead of staying in a hotel. The daughter expresses her concern in a bratty teenage rant about how this other father, her dad has made arrangements with, might be untrustworthy or “a serial-rapist-vegetarian-robber-murderer.” (page 17) After reading this line I was completely floored at how vegetarians, traditionally non-violent animal lovers, could be included with the likes of such violent criminal types. So I figured it was a pathetic attempt at humor until several pages later, the mother of the story (who is typecast as the all-seeing one while the dad is portrayed as an oblivious optimist) then shares her concern by saying “I don’t want strangers we met on the internet who might be serial-rapist-vegetarian-robber- murderers looking at all of our photos.” (page 31)

    The tone in both cases was more serious and argumentative, so I’m guessing that these authors have a bone to pick with those “terrible degenerates” who do not happen to share their passion for eating meat. However, I happen to have a high demographic of Asian children/ teachers within my school population and several happen to not eat meat. Whoever you are planning to share this book with (carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, etc.) I believe in teaching children, especially at the intended age group for this book, that we must respect everyone whatever their beliefs happen to be. In a time where so much publicity has been paid towards “anti-bullying” in our youth, let’s not target vegetarians or label them as freaks for the punch line of a joke.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    AMAZING

    Fantastic Book!!! ITS A BOOK THAT, WHEN YOU THINK THAT YOUVE SOLVED THE MYSTERY, A NEW ONE IS JUST BEGINING


    By: Elijah Williams 11 years old

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