Thank you to all the authors who entered my Children’s Book Review Lottery. The Girl from the Attic written by Marie Prins, illustrated by Edward Hagedorn and published by Common Deer Press was the book selected from the many entered.
The opening line of the story’s prologue deftly sets the stage for this time-traveling middle grade book. The cat sat on the old windowsill, as she had off and on for a hundred years.
Immediately the reader is introduced to Shadow who will lead Maddy, the book’s main character, into the Octagon House’s woodshed’s loft and through a small rectangular door where she will begin to discover the house’s past.
Maddy’s life has recently gone through a great deal of change; change that she doesn’t like. The opportunity to time-travel offers her a way to escape her present. When Maddy first goes through the doorway to the past, she isn’t quite sure what is going on but soon gets involved the life of the people who had previously lived there. She forms closer connections to members of that family than she has with her present-day mother and step-father.
Ironically, through her visits to the past and her involvement in the lives of the people there, Maddy comes to realize she needs to appreciate her present day life.
Houses hold memories; The Octagon House built in the 1850’s close to the shores of Lake Ontario Canada is no different. If you’re a fan of history and have ever thought about the people who years ago might have walked the same street or stood in the same spot as you do in the present, then you will enjoy the detailed descriptions of The Octagon House’s past and it’s residents’ life experiences.
There is an nice twist at the end of the story, which is not completely unexpected but nevertheless satisfying.