Denise Kirby, The Way In (88 Lime Street #1), Scholastic, 1 May 2015, 272pp., $16.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781742991009
Mischievous is not the first word you would use to describe a house is it? Yet it really seems the best word to describe 88 Lime Street with its ramshackle appearance and its whimsical and odd extensions. This is the new family home for the Brewster family and they soon learn that this property is like no other they have ever known. The house has two hexagonal towers three storeys in height attached to either end. But why does one have no door? What is inside? Binnie, Ellen and Ben are keen to find out. Why does the house only grant Ellen the clues to the mysterious tower that leads her and five previous occupants of the house on a journey through time?
This book was enchanting and the mathematical and literary possibilities that could spring from a unit at school around this novel seem endless! Topics like time and geometry immediately spring to mind as well as puzzles involving hieroglyphs or symbology. Prediction will be a big topic of conversation for this book as it was impossible to gauge the direction it was going to go – the blurb on my uncorrected proof copy gave away no clues indicating time travel!
While the genre of this novel may be magical there was not a wizard to be seen, perhaps it is a ghost story without ghosts, and this book would challenge young readers about preconceived ideas involving classification. Descriptive language, historical references, cyber bullying are all topics I could imagine would take a class in many directions over a six to ten week block! Teacher’s Notes can be found on the Scholastic website. I think that Stage Three would gain the most from the story.
Is there going to be another in the series? I am curious! From the title it sounds possible. In this book Ellen finds the way into the tower… so many things could happen next! I love old houses and the possibilities within. Secret passageways, hidden cupboards, and history within walls – I highly recommend 88 Lime Street: The Way In.
reviewed by Emily Meldrum