The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Written by John Bellairs

Reviewed by Nicholas Y. (age 11)

The book I have read is The House with a Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs. It is about a boy living with his uncle who plays with magic. The house holds a doomsday clock which will set the world on fire. Therefore, to save the world, the clock must be destroyed.

The book is about a 10 year old boy called Lewis. Lewis's parents died in an auto accident. Therefore, Lewis was to live with his Uncle Jonathan. Lewis's uncle lives in New Zebedee. New Zebedee is in Capharnaum County, Michigan.

Jonathan's mansion is full of fun and surprises. In Jonathan's mansion, Lewis had all sorts of fun. He played poker with old cards; he heard all sorts of clocks ticking; among other fun things. He met Mrs. Zimmermann, an old friend of Jonathan. The mansion itself was wonderful; it had parlors, closets, playrooms, upholstered chairs, among other wonderful things.

Every night, Jonathan sneaks around the house shutting off clocks. Lewis one night decides to investigate. Even though Jonathan caught Lewis, he tells Lewis the story of the former owner of the house. The former owner of the house was Isaac Izard. He played with black magic, the worst thing a wizard could do. Mrs. Zimmermann lived next door to him. Therefore, she knew more about him. One unusual thing about him is that on many evenings, Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmermann would see him holding a lantern and staring out at the night. Mrs. Zimmermann claimed that during the day he would be taking notes.

Lewis had a friend named Tarby. Tarby showed him how to play baseball. In time, they became friends. However, Tarby soon becomes less interested in baseball and started to play football with other kids. Tarby was always the quarterback. He made long passes and end runs. Before Lewis starts to lose Tarby, they did an unusual thing. This thing took place at night, in a graveyard when Lewis raised Selenna Izard. Selenna Lizard was the spouse of Isaac Izard. She later broke into Jonathan's house and stole a key that would wind the doomsday clock. However, Lewis upsets Tarby when he brings up the subject of the graveyard. Tarby is furious and hurts Lewis.

There was a hobo nicknamed Hammerhandle. All the smart children feared him. His former home was a tar-paper shack down by the railroad tracks. Hammerhandle's former job was manufacturing and selling ax handles, hoe handles and hammer handles in his tar-paper shack. That is how he got his nickname. This time he was driving a moving van. Their first meeting was rather unfriendly. Hammerhandle grabbed Lewis by the collar and told him to keep his nose on his side of the fence. After Lewis related the encounter to Jonathan, Jonathan furiously told Lewis to stay away from Hammerhandle.

Christmas at Jonathan?s mansion was both good and bad; Lewis received an egg that could show you any battle in history. Jonathan also made strong lamps behind the stained glass windows, so that they threw magnificent patterns of red, blue, gold and purple on the dark, sparkling snow outside.

Lewis opens the organ and finds some papers. He shows them to Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmermann. That night, Lewis eavesdrops on their conversation and finds out that Isaac Izard really did hide a clock to destroy the world. Lewis also guesses that Mrs. O?Meagher is Mrs. Izard and he had raised her from the dead.

One night, Lewis sneaks into Mrs. O'Meagher's house. He meets Mrs. Izard but Mrs. Zimmermann saves Lewis by attacking Mrs. Izard with ultraviolet lightning. Therefore, this created a diversion so Lewis could get away.

After Lewis and Mrs. Zimmermann came across Mrs. Izard, the trio use a clue to find the doomsday clock. When Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmermann turned to see Mrs. Izard, Mrs. Izard was holding a Hand Of Glory. Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmermann because the Hand of Glory will freeze all those who looked directly at it. Lewis recognized the Hand on the reflection on the clock?s glass door. He then smashed the clock and Mrs. Izard vanished. The power of the Hand was broken. Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmermann were no longer frozen . Everything was back to normal.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery and suspense. I like this book because it is full of mystery, laughter, and suspense. On a scale of one through ten, I give it an eight.

Nicholas Y. is a student in Mr. Lee's 5th Grade Class
2000-2001