Parents' Guide to

The House with a Clock in Its Walls: Lewis Barnavelt, Book 1

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Ten-year-old raises the dead in creepy Gothic classic.

Book John Bellairs Horror 2004
The House with a Clock in Its Walls: Lewis Barnavelt, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 9+

Perfectly spooky but not too scary

I read this before giving it to my 9 year old around Halloween. It is spooky but not terrifying. Lewis is a lovely character... not a perfect boy and very relatable. The Edward Gorey illustrations add just the right touch. Definitely recommend.
age 8+

Spooky and bizarre…

This is a book worth reading at least once. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to younger readers interested in a good spook fest in a gothic setting. I did not find it particularly spooky compared to other horror/thriller books, but this one was bizarre in a good way. It is appropriate for kids and adults alike. I recommend it to kids age 8 and up, since some kids younger than that might not understand what is happening, since there are a lot of supernatural events depicted in the book. I have not see the movie yet, but this is a good book that is not terribly long. The main concerns are the violence and scariness, but there is no mature content besides that. Throughout the book, there are both positive messages, like perseverance and bravery, and positive role models, like Lewis, Uncle Jonathan, and Mrs. Zimmermann, who are all involved in stopping the clock in the walls from ending the world. Overall, this is a mind-bending thriller that many people would enjoy.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (4 ):

John Bellairs' tale of a 10-year-old orphan, his warlock uncle, and world-destroying villains back from the dead -- first in a long series -- has entertained and spooked readers since 1973. Edward Gorey's classic illustrations manage to be both creepy and endearing. There's more than a bit of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" as young Lewis Barnavelt gets in way over his head raising people from the dead, and a strong sense of loving (if really strange) family and friends to set things right.

Book Details

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