Walls Within Walls

Walls Within Walls

4.5 49
by Maureen Sherry, Adam Stower
     
 

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After their father, a video-game inventor, strikes it rich, the Smithfork kids move from their cozy Brooklyn neighborhood to a swanky apartment on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.

One day Brid, CJ, and Patrick discover an astonishing secret about their apartment. The original owner, the deceased multimillionaire Mr. Post, long ago turned the apartment itself into a

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Overview

After their father, a video-game inventor, strikes it rich, the Smithfork kids move from their cozy Brooklyn neighborhood to a swanky apartment on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.

One day Brid, CJ, and Patrick discover an astonishing secret about their apartment. The original owner, the deceased multimillionaire Mr. Post, long ago turned the apartment itself into a giant puzzle containing a mysterious book and hidden panels—a puzzle that, with some luck, courage, and brainpower, will lead to discovering the Post family fortune. Unraveling the mystery causes them to race through today's New York City—and to uncover some long-hidden secrets of the past.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Crowder
Anyone who loves puzzles or mysteries should appreciate this book about three children, newly moved toa posh old New York apartment, who explore the big city in search of a potential treasure. The Smithfork children, Brid CJ, and Patrick, have moved from their comfortable Brooklyn brownstone—complete with yard—to a fancy neighborhood in Manhattan in a historic building once known as the Post mansion, across from Central Park. Not only do the three dread the prospect of a new school in the Fall, but twelve-year-old CJ faces life without being part of a baseball team. To top it all off, their parents are so busy that they have hired a nanny, Marcel, to care for them. All changes for the better when rowdy play results in a broken metal grill, revealing a huge painted eye, part of a large mural and—wait!—is that writing painted on the picture? Eventually the trio discovers a library book with a due date of 1937. Does it contain clues to the rumored lost Post family fortune? As the three children pursue the clues they meet Lilly and Lukas, children Brid's and CJ's ages, who live on the other side of the building, along with a member of the Post family. The children begin the hunt for the Post fortune, will they be successful or walk into danger? Whom will they meet along the way? One thing is guaranteed: the children as well as the reader will learn a lot about the history and geography of the city. Stower's charming black and white illustrations add to the excitement. What a great book to banish a lazy afternoon case of boredom! Reviewer: Judy Crowder
School Library Journal
Gr 5�8—Twelve-year-old CJ, his nine-year-old sister Brid, and six-year-old Patrick Smithfork resent leaving Brooklyn for Manhattan, even though they are pleased that their dad's video-game company has struck it rich. Finding a wall, a painting, and a book behind a grille in their historical Fifth Avenue apartment, the children start to decipher clues that send them on an architectural treasure hunt. Their neighbor Eloise Post hopes that the hunt will reveal the whereabouts of her father's lost fortune from the 1930s. The man left a book of poems by Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and others that lead to seven famous structures around the city. This debut novel is a breathtaking romp, focusing on the work of little-known master tile mason and architect Rafael Guastavino. Sherry's passion will make readers fall in love with New York and the poems that portray its many personalities. Full-page illustrations appear throughout. There is a majesty to the author's juxtaposition of monument and poem, although this grandeur masks some of the book's irregularities. The third-person perspective shifts in a way that distances readers from the main characters and impedes character development. Secondary figures are sometimes sketched lightly, although the implied sequel may develop them more fully. Similar to "The 39 Clues" (Scholastic) books or Michael D. Beil's "The Red Blazer Girls" (Knopf), this story incorporates many subplots but lacks a tidy narrative. Nevertheless, readers will relish being tourists on this treasure hunt, no matter what. Pick it up and watch for the sequel.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT
Kirkus Reviews

Myriad mysteries and long-lost treasure await the Smithfork children when they move from Brooklyn into an eccentric, historic apartment on the Upper East Side of New York City. Lonely and uncomfortable at first in this new environment, they find adventure behind the apartment walls, in secret passageways and in the nooks and crannies of their building as they make one remarkable discovery after another and meet a cast of fascinating neighbors. CJ, Brid and Patrick explore Manhattan from Harlem to Central Park to Ellis Island and get trapped in an abandoned subway station on their way to solving the clues that will lead them to a fabulous treasure trove and a happy ending. These children and their family dynamics are natural and engaging. The plot is well paced and completely believable, as Sherry deftly weaves fact and fiction in an intricate series of poetry and puzzles that challenge both characters and readers to look at the world with fresh eyes, humor and imagination. A delicious multilayered romp. (Magical adventure. 8-12)

ALA Booklist
“Readers will get a real sense of the uniqueness that is New York City.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The book has much of the enterprising spirit of old-fashioned series fiction about young sleuths from the HARDY BOYS to TRIXIE BELDEN."
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The book has much of the enterprising spirit of old-fashioned series fiction about young sleuths from the HARDY BOYS to TRIXIE BELDEN.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“The book has much of the enterprising spirit of old-fashioned series fiction about young sleuths from the HARDY BOYS to TRIXIE BELDEN.”
Blue Balliett
“An intriguing, exciting story about the secrets hidden in a familiar world.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The book has much of the enterprising spirit of old-fashioned series fiction about young sleuths from the HARDY BOYS to TRIXIE BELDEN.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061767005
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/14/2010
Pages:
349
Sales rank:
1,332,655
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

Blue Balliett
“An intriguing, exciting story about the secrets hidden in a familiar world.”

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