Take a break from your critical reading to enjoy a simply written, yet complex story. I have read 14 novels so far this semester for my course work and this is the best one so far in the overall category.
“Watch Hollow” by Gregory Funaro deals with a whole host of subjects as we get to know our protagonists, Lucy, her brother Oliver and their father, Mr. Tinker.
Mr. Tinker is a clocksmith who owns a little shop in a small town. He also deals in antigues to supplement the families meager income. We find out quickly, so it’s not a spoiler, that Lucy’s mother passed away from cancer when Lucy was four, Lucy is now 11. Her older brother Oliver is 13 and going through puberty as pimples and a cracking voice tend to remind us throughout the story.
When an older gentlemen comes into the shop on a story day and offers more money than seems resonable for a job that may take the entire summer to finish, Mr. Tinker, at the encouragement of his children, decides to take it so he can get the family firmly on their feet.
The family closes the shop and heads to Rhode Island, a couple hours drive from their home. They arrive at a dilapitated home built in the early 1900s and prepare to fix a clock that is built into the wall of the home. What makes this clock special, aside from it’s massive size, is that it was designed as a perpetual motion clock that runs the electricity for the entire home. Little do they know as they begin their adventure that the clock is part of a magical surrounding that consists of Shadow Wood and Sun Stones, which ultimately balance out good and evil.
Funaro does a really good job incorporating magic into the real world. He uses logic to pull things together instead of depending on the spirit world to provide something that can’t be explained and when, prepare for a spoiler, animals come to life, he writes them in a way that leaves no second guessing as to their realness. Instead of saying something like, “Lucy thought the animal smiled at her,” which would leave the reader thinking maybe it was her imagination, he would write, “The animal smiled at Lucy.”
Though this is a little thing in the writing, it makes for a clearer story where the reader isn’t trying to second guess everything. This allows for a fun read with little effort.
The other factor that helps with the writing is that the magic reveals itself to more than one character. This reiterates that it is not imagination and overall, the effect is that you believe the magic is real.
Though this novel is listed as a middle grade novel for 8 to 12-year-olds, it is worth picking up to read. This is the perfect mystery to give you a break from all the heavy reading you do for your classes. I give this novel 5 out of 5 tophats.