Sonderbooks     Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

More Info from

Rate this Book

Sonderbooks 33
    Previous Book
    Next Book

Young Adult Fiction
Children's Nonfiction
Children's Fiction
        Previous Book
        Next Book

Picture Books

2002 Stand-outs
Five-Star Books
Four-Star Books
Old Favorites
Back Issues
List of Reviews by Title
List of Reviews by Author

Links For Book Lovers

About Me
Contact Me
Post on Bulletin Board

I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


**The Ogre Downstairs

by Diana Wynne Jones

Reviewed July 18, 2002.
HarperTrophy, 2002.  First published in 1974.  212 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF JON).

This one’s fun to read, though not necessarily Diana Wynne Jones at her best.  Knowing that Diana Wynne Jones writes fantasy, you’d expect the ogre in the title to be an actual ogre, but he is only Caspar, Johnny and Gwinny’s new stepfather.  However, the Ogre does unknowingly give Johnny a magic chemistry set--and he gives a matching set to his own boys, Malcolm and Douglas.

Things get interesting when both sets of kids independently figure out how to make a chemical that lets them fly.  The magic goes on from there, eventually helping the two halves of the family understand each other better.

This is a good book, but I thought that some of the mean-spirited bickering at the beginning was a little too realistic!  Still, it did make me happier when they worked things out, but I almost quit reading before it got to that point.  I also thought the reference to Lps was silly, until I looked closer at the copyright date and realized that the book was written 25 years ago.  Things have changed since then, but aside from that one situation with records, this still seems like a modern family.
Reviews of other books by Diana Wynne Jones:
Cart and Cwidder
Drowned Ammet
The Spellcoats
The Crown of Dalemark
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin
Conrad's Fate

Unexpected Magic
The Merlin Conspiracy
Wild Robert
Witch's Business

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

-top of page-