Where authors find their inspiration for their stories fascinates me. For example take Maurice Sendak who in 1981 published the book Outside Over There. A story about a child that is stolen by goblins and replaced by an ice baby. So this inspired me to do a little Internet research and I found that he got the inspiration for his story from the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby and also because he was fond of his older sister taking care of him.
So now we come to the story I'm reviewing today. The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver. A little more Internet research in the way of a Time for Kids interview, and come to find Lauren Oliver was inspired to write her story by Maurice Sendak's book. Pretty cool huh? Kinda playing it forward.
The Spindlers tells the story of Liza, who wakes up one morning to find her brother Patrick has changed. In fact the opening line goes like this from Goodreads: "One night when Liza
went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and
pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and
the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite,
quite different." Liza tries to test this new Patrick by asking him questions but when he ultimately fails her tickle test, she knows that she must find her real brother. Liza's parents are no help they just want her to grow up and stop all this childhood fantay. Liza however was told about creatures called Spindlers that can steal your soul by none other then her old babysitter/friend Anna, so she feels that they must be real. Liza determines that she must travel "Below," so armed with just a broom, Liza goes down into the basement searching all around in the dark space behind the bookcase. Ultimately, she falls through a leaf floor and lands on a talking rat named Mirabella. Mirabella promises to lead Liza to the Spindlers nest, but their path will not be a easy one.
Sendak's book, Alice in Wonderland, Lion Witch and the Wardrobe and even the movie Labyrinth seem to have influenced Liza's adventure below but that just gives it the feel of these other classic books and movie to me. There is so much to love about this story. Liza's faith that she will find her brother, despite him being annoying and her strength to come face to face with the Spindlers themselves. A wonderful adventure story that isn't very scary either. It's a very fantastical world filled with unique creatures and some lovely imagery that guides the story. Plus just look at that cover and the illustrations at the beginning of each of the chapter which are gorgeous. My copy was purchased, after reading Liesel and Po, I knew I wanted to own this one as well. 4 out of 5 story for me.