Parents' Guide to

The World-Famous Nine

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Mildly spooky mystery with wonderous store setting.

Book Ben Guterson Fantasy 2024
The World Famous Nine book cover: Two kids, Zander and Natasha, stand in the atrium of the Nine department store surrounded by wonders and eerie purple smoke

A Lot or a Little?

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

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Is It Any Good?

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This slightly spooky mystery is rich with retail wonders and curious characters, but a little thin on story. Author Ben Guterson's strength is his quirky-cool settings -- just check out the fantastic Winterhouse trilogy. The Nine department store is a delight, even more so with the rich black-and-white illustrations by Kristina Kister. It will get readers immediately thinking about what adventures they would have if they were lucky enough to have Zina for a grandma, and which of the eccentric Nine employees they would want to visit every day. Like Winterhouse, there are puzzles to solve, but here it's less involved. It takes more effort to find what needs solving than to solve the one puzzle, and the scavenger hunt that follows offers few obstacles or twists of any kind. Plus we know the baddies for most of the book and know exactly what they are after. While the ending excites, it doesn't alter your perceptions the way a mystery should. So readers will leave the Nine not surprised and delighted like they just rode a rooftop Ferris wheel, but generally satisfied, like they found their favorite brand on sale.

Book Details

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