Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Floors is a quirky middle-grade novel by Patrick Carman.
The Whippet Hotel is the creation of Merganzer Whippet, an eccentric yet brilliant billionaire. There's no place quite like it. It sits, small and incredibly exclusive, on a huge patch of land that seems unnecessarily large, surrounded by enormous bush sculptings of ducks (a favorite of Mr. Whippet's).
Each floor (of which there are only nine) has a wacky, specific design that tends to only be occupied by fellow wealthy oddballs. But Leo Fillmore, the janitor's son, loves it. He and his dad have access to every corner of the masterpiece, and Leo helps keep the air conditioning working in the Cake Room and the ponds circulating right in the Room of Ponds and Caves. He helps walk the ducks and keep the smartest of all the ducks, Betty, happy and less likely to bite the guests.
But something hasn't been right about the Whippet Hotel for the last many weeks. Mr. Whippet is missing. He is always a very active part of his hotel, often the only one to work on specific parts of it. And now it seems to be falling apart without him. Leo and his dad have more work to do than ever, and it almost feels like someone may be causing trouble on purpose!
Then Leo finds a box addressed to him in Mr. Whippet's handwriting. It leads him to secret entrances to hidden floors, riddles and puzzles and dangerous games - all the while helping him pick up a friend or two. It appears this bizarre array of cryptic messages are all for one purpose: save the Whippet Hotel.
Leo, as always, is only too happy to help!
Floors is a zany, inventive, good-humored, and lighthearted tale of a whimsical hotel and it's nonsensical residents. The search for the mad, missing billionaire owner and the mysterious deviant purposely trying to destroy the hotel is delightful and pleasant - full to the brim with ducks, robots, and rooms designed as giant pinball machines and more! There is no lack of creativity here!!!
It's amazing how Patrick Carman can switch gears from something as dark as Thirteen Days to Midnight (which I reviewed earlier this year) to this! Floors made me almost as tickled as Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. It's stuffed with charm and nutty fun, making it an excellent, diverting family friendly read that I really enjoyed!
There's a quality of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (that is, the movie - I've never read the book - can you believe it?!) to Floors. Yet still completely original. By the end, I kinda wanted to go to the Whippet Hotel (especially the 13th floor - you have to read it to understand)!!! Happy to report that the book says it is "Book One", so there seems to be more in the works.
I found Floors to be madcap fun - and hope for much more to come!