Toots and the Upside down House

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Overview

If only Toots hadn't been so angry with her father. If only she hadn't run home by herself. If only she hadn't seen the fairy on the ceiling. . . .

But then again, if things had been different, Toots's whole world wouldn't literally have been turned upside-down. And she would never have had the most amazing adventure. . . .

A rare, special book, Toots and the Upside-Down House combines fantasy and adventure with the real, everyday issues of ...

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Toots and the Upside-Down House

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Overview

If only Toots hadn't been so angry with her father. If only she hadn't run home by herself. If only she hadn't seen the fairy on the ceiling. . . .

But then again, if things had been different, Toots's whole world wouldn't literally have been turned upside-down. And she would never have had the most amazing adventure. . . .

A rare, special book, Toots and the Upside-Down House combines fantasy and adventure with the real, everyday issues of love and loss. This is a dazzling debut novel, one that children--and parents--will return to again and again.

Toots one day finds herself in an upside down world, with fairies who are trying to protect her house from evil goblins that want to destroy it, along with the stamp collection that Toots thinks her father loves more than he loves her.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
First-time novelist Hughes offers an inverted perspective of the world in this whimsical British import featuring the neglected daughter of a dedicated philatelist and an unconventional fairy-in-training. Touched by Olive the fairy's magic, Toots shrinks to near invisibility and rises up (feet first) into a well-organized network of fairies busily combating the mischief of goblins and sprites, who threaten to flood the house and thus ruin Mr. Wheate's precious stamp collection. Caught in a battle between destroyers and preservers, Toots learns about temptation, love and courage when her beloved teddy bear is captured. While the framework and archetypal characters are familiar, there is also much to spark the imagination in the author's invention of an elaborate hierarchy of tiny, mythical creatures. Pencil drawings by the three illustrators, whose styles differ markedly, capture the humorous aspects of portly, bespectacled Olive and the shifting moods of Toots. Readers who seek fantasy mingled with real-life conflicts will relish this adventure. Ages 8-12. (May)
Children's Literature
The discoveries to be made while living upside down on the ceiling are enough to tempt all of us to stand on our heads. Who knew that cobwebs are actually gorgeous strands of silver and gold, and that dust is a colorful array of precious gems? Toots makes these discoveries and more when she spots Olive, a plump house fairy in-training, disappearing through a tiny door much like Alice's white rabbit hurrying off to tea. Saved from the loneliness and boredom of waiting for her stamp-collecting father to notice her, Toots plunges into an imaginative romp and a dangerous adventure inside her own house. While adjusting to climbing down, which is harder than climbing up, because down is up, she finds that bad fairies turn into hateful sprites and keep company with evil goblins. Meanwhile, she must rescue her teddy bear from kidnapping and her house from destruction. With the help of Olive, she also discovers the importance of telling the truth and the value of loyalty. Though the problem with her father's seeming indifference is resolved a bit too easily, readers of this British fantasy will be having too much fun to notice. 2000 (orig. 1996), Random House,
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5Upset at her father for ignoring her after the death of her mother, Toots discovers an upside-down world in her ceiling. Whisked there by a Olive, a fat, cobweb-wielding house fairy, she becomes instrumental in helping the fairies defeat the evil Jack Frost, the sprites, and the house goblins. A labored plot, superficially developed secondary characters, and a confusion of rules that govern the gravity-defying ceiling world make this a difficult read for all but the most committed fantasy readers. A subplot involving a lost stuffed bear given to Toots by her mother and returned by her now-attentive father at the story's end. Murky black-and-white drawings done by a three-person consortium do little to save this overwrought offering. Stick with books about the Littles by John Peterson, the Borrowers by Mary Norton, and the Mennyms by Sylvia Waugh.Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679986539
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 4/15/1997
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.63 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Hughes grew up in England in a seaside town where her parents kept a small hotel. As a child, she loved standing on her head and wondering what it would be like to walk on the ceiling. When she got older, she went to Brighton College of Art to study painting, but she filled her sketchbooks with notes and stories instead of drawings. Not long afterward, she moved to the United States and began writing. She now lives right-side-up in San Francisco with her husband.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

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