A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Curiosity House: Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver (Liesl & Po) is a fast-paced, engaging tale of four orphans, each in possession of a carnivalesque skill, who band together to solve the mystery of a shrunken head that disappears from the museum they live in. Along the way they discover numerous dead bodies that are somewhat graphically described and maneuver their way around adults and authority figures, while protecting one another and avoiding getting blamed for the crimes. Though the story is enveloped in a cloud of the macabre, it's an entertaining, warm-hearted tale of survival, sleuthing, and friendship.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Pippa, Sam, Thomas, and now Max all live in the Dumfrey Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. Max's knife-throwing skills are a perfect complement to the other children's skills, such as the strongest boy and the mentalist. But when a shrunken head goes missing, and along with it a string of unsolved murders, the children must band together to figure out who did it before they're hauled off to school and work -- or before the crime is pinned on one of them.
Is it any good?
This captivating whodunnit blends murder, creepy oddities, relics, and the eerie indifference of city life with tales of friendship, fitting in, and survival. With ominous black-and-white sketches throughout, the story and vibe are skillfully woven for a meaty mystery with a human touch.
Though CURIOSITY HOUSE: SHRUNKEN HEAD has a slew of murders and a brooding, macabre tone, the children are relatably strange, believably resilient, and, ultimately, survivors who learn to trust each other and navigate a complicated, indifferent world by banding together. The result is a creepy page-turner that has a lot of heart and lessons about the way our differences are often our strengths.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Author: Lauren Oliver
- Illustrator: H. C. Chester
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date: October 29, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 368
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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