The premise of the book is that when Ms. McMartin dies the Dunwoody family moves into her house. What at first seems like an ordinary house slowly reveals its many secrets to eleven year old Olive. The first clue is amongst the items left behind by the late Ms. McMartin in the way of a pair of spectacles. With these spectacles on the paintings begin to move and even wink. Full of curiosity, Olive begins to test a theory that perhaps she can climb into one of these paintings. It's like Alice going down the rabbit hole but way more spooky. By venturing inside the paintings, she meets nine year old Morton who became trapped by "the bad man." The house is protected by three cats who were once the familiars to the McMartin family. They too try to guide Olive as she attempts to find a way to help Morton. Things are not always what they seem in this house and it will take strength and ingenuity for Olive to make sure that "the bad man" does not have his way. Yet, when Olive unwittingly free's someone from their painting will the cats come to her aide?
What I thought:
I first read this book back in 2010. If your interested in my first review its here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/123972209 Since then there are two sequels with the fourth due to come out July 16th, 2013, I can't wait. Although this was a re-read for me, I'm still drawn to the lovely cover with Olive climbing into Elsewhere or is she climbing out?
I really love the character Olive that author Jacqueline West has created, she exudes middle grade girl with her hair pulled back, jeans and stripped shirt. Well, maybe the kind of girl I was growing up. I love how the paintings hanging on the walls seem to move and there is a hint of something in there just out of reach. Just the idea of walking around and meeting the people inside the paintings is intriguing to me. Who can forget the three cats of the house. Horatio who is mysterious and not always as helpful as he could be. Leopold who guards the basement and Harvey who thinks he is one of many characters. The descriptive writing coupled with the lovely illustrations by Poly Bernatene makes for a winning 5/5 book for me.
Just for the record, Penguin publishing and Charlotteslibrary.blogspot offered this book as a part of their Halloween prize pack that I was lucky to win. A big thank you to both for the first of these books.