Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Tilting House Book Review

Author: Tom Llewellyn. Release date: 2010. Publisher:  Tricycle Press. ISBN: 9781582462882.

Annotation: Josh and Aaron Peshik aren’t sure what to make of the new house their parents have just moved them into: all the floors slope three degrees inward and there are crazy, scientific scribbling all over the walls. They soon find that when you live in a tilting house, adventure is definitely in store!

Personal thoughts: I found this book to be delightful. The idea of a house that slopes leaves many opportunities for fun storylines, and Llewellyn took advantage of them very well. I really liked the romance that Josh and Aaron discovered that was responsible for a lot of the eccentricities of Tilton House. I wouldn’t be surprised if Llewellyn wrote some sequels to this story and I look forward to seeing them.
Plot summary: Josh Peshik’s parents don’t make a lot of money, so when they have the opportunity to purchase an old but spacious mansion they take it. The trouble is, the mansion is tilted. The floors, the furniture, the walls, all slope three degrees inward. Even more strange are the equations, formulas and ideas scribbled all over the walls throughout the house. The Peshiks are determined to make the best of their new house, however, and Josh and his little brother Aaron, along with their mom, dad and grandpa, move in. What follows is a series of adventures and strange occurrences involving the various secrets contained within Tilton House. From talking rats, to a dimmer switch that makes the house disappear, living in the mansion makes for one interesting summer vacation. Despite all of these odd happenings, Josh wants to learn more about the mysterious man who built the mansion and what all of the scribbling mean. Will he be able to uncover the truth about Tilton House and all of its eccentricities?
Review:  Told in a series of interconnected vignettes, The Tilting House is a fun and original tale where the setting, a mysterious old mansion, is a prominent character in its own right. Immediately after beginning the novel, readers will be intrigued by the oddness of Tilton House. The sloping floors, the crazy scientific scribbling all over the wall, and the magical discoveries of talking rats, powder that makes things grow, and a dimmer switch that makes the mansion disappear. Hidden within all the mansion’s eccentricities is a decades old love story that explains the truth behind Tilton House. Tweens will enjoy this quirky novel. The way Llewellyn has organized the chapters makes for an interesting read. There is somewhat of a plot string that continues throughout the novel, but each chapter chronicles a different event that Josh and Aaron experience. The conclusion of the novel is very satisfying but also leaves the story open for sequels.
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy
Reading level: Grade 4+

Similar titles: The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone.
Themes:  Science, mystery, mansions, secrets.
Awards/Reviews:  Positive reviews from School Library Journal, Booklist, Publishers weekly, and Kirkus Reviews.
Series Information: N/A

Discussion questions:
 - Have you ever had to move to a new town or house? What is it like?
- Would you live in a place like the Tilton House? Would you want to paint over the scribbles on the wall?
- What is your favorite chapter in The Tilting House? Why?
- Do you think F.T. Tilton is crazy? What does it mean to be eccentric?
- Write your own chapter about something Josh and Aaron might encounter in the Tilton House.
- Describe which elements of the story are fantasy and which could actually happen. Do you enjoy reading fantasy stories or do you prefer realistic stories?

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