From the Publisher
Starred review, Publishers Weekly, December 3, 2007:
"Grabs readers from the beginning and doesn't let go."
Starred review, Booklist, January 1, 2008:
“Everything rings true here, the family relationships, the quirky connections of
Ted’s mental circuitry, and, perhaps most surprisingly, the mystery.”
Starred review, Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2007:
“This is a well-constructed puzzle, and mystery lovers will delight in connecting the clues.”
Starred review, School Library Journal, February 2008:
“A dense mystery tied together with fully fleshed out characters and a unique narrator.”
Starred review, The Horn Book, May/June 2008:
“The best mysteries have at their centers gifted but very human sleuths—their abilities balanced by equally significant flaws or idiosyncrasies. This one is no exception.”
A 12-year-old Londoner with something like Asperger's syndrome narrates this page-turner, which grabs readers from the beginning and doesn't let go. As Ted and his older sister Katrina watch, their visiting cousin Salim boards a "pod" for a ride on the London Eye, a towering tourist attraction with a 360-degree view of the city-but unlike his fellow passengers, Salim never comes down. He has vanished. At the outset Ted explains that he has cracked the case: "Having a funny brain that runs on a different operating system from other people's helped me to figure out what happened." The tension lies in the implicit challenge to solve the mystery ahead of Ted, who turns his intense observational powers on the known facts, transforming his unnamed disability into an investigative tool while the adults' emotions engulf them. Dowd ratchets up the stakes repeatedly: is a boy in the morgue Salim? Has he drowned? Been kidnapped? Katrina and Ted work together to solve the puzzle, developing new respect for each other. The author wryly locates the humor as Ted wrangles with his symptoms (learning to lie represents progress) but also allows Ted an ample measure of grace. Comparisons to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeare inevitable-this release was delayed when Mark Haddon's book (from the same publisher) became a bestseller-but Dowd makes clearer overtures to younger readers. Just as impressive as Dowd's recent debut, A Swift Pure Cry, and fresh cause to mourn her premature death this year. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
AGERANGE: Ages 10 to 14.
The London Eye is the gargantuan Ferris Wheel that was built on the bank of the Thames for the Millennium Celebration. Or, as the book's narrator Ted describes it, it is "the only cantilevered structure of its kind on earth . . . designed like a giant bicycle wheel, supported by a massive A-frame." Ted thinks like that and talks like that because he has an unnamed syndrome that makes him very precise, very bright, and borderline autistic. Dowd's mystery is seemingly about the impossible mid-flight disappearance of Ted's cousin, Salim, from a closed capsule of the Eye. In truth, it is the story of Ted's tentative progression out of his brain and into the human race as he doggedly solves the mystery. Twelve-year-old Ted has a little help from his big sister, Kat, but not much from the rest of his semi-dysfunctional family. Watching him struggle from the constant weather report in his head to mastering the Tube on his own, learning to lie (nicely and only out of sheer necessity), and--most importantly--grasping the rules of dealing with adults, is fascinating. The saving of Salim is gratifying, but far more welcome is the saving of Ted. Siobhan Dowd's writing is as precise as Ted himself. The end result is a heady read. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8- Ted and Kat lose their cousin Salim at the London Eye sightseeing attraction, "the largest observation wheel ever built." Given a free ticket by a stranger, Salim enters the ride, but he never emerges. Guilty about their part in the bungled outing, the siblings trace scraps of information that illuminate the boy's disappearance. Ted, who is something of an enigma himself, narrates the story. He has a neurological cross wiring that results in an encyclopedic brain and a literal view of the world. He finds it hard to read motivations and emotions, but excels at clue tracing and deduction. Kat, his older sister, deplores his odd behaviors but relies on his analytic brain while she does the legwork. The result is a dense mystery tied together with fully fleshed out characters and a unique narrator. Good mysteries for kids are rare, and this offering does the genre proud. London Eye is the best sort, throwing out scads of clues for discerning readers to solve the mystery themselves. Add to that Ted's literal translation of our world, his distanced view of an alien landscape of human interactions, and the ways he gains a better understanding of that world through the course of the novel, and the story is even more noteworthy. Suggest this as a read-alike to fans of Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer (Scholastic, 2004) or Lauren Tarshis's Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree (Dial, 2007).-Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
When Ted's cousin Salim visits London, he insists on riding "The London Eye," an immense observation wheel. A stranger gives Salim a free ticket; Salim enters a passenger capsule; 30 minutes later, when the capsule returns from its rotation, Salim has vanished. What follows is an intricate mystery, related from the unique point of view of 12-year-old Ted, who has Asperger's Syndrome. Ted is a brilliant but literal thinker who sees things in things in terms of mathematical probabilities. His brain, though differently wired, is as efficient as a computer. It is precisely the logical mind needed to solve the mystery, and it saves Salim's life. This is a well-constructed puzzle, and mystery lovers will delight in connecting the clues, but what makes this a riveting read is Ted's voice. He is bright, honest, brave and very funny about his "syndrome" (his teacher has given him a cartoon code for recognizing the five basic emotions). The message, grippingly delivered, is that kids, even differently abled ones, are worth paying attention to. (Fiction. 9-14)