I recommend this book for kids in 2nd through 5th or 6th. There is something at once charming and amusing about the main character Brian--the way he looks at the world and in his interaction with the adults and children in his life.. He is refreshingly unlike the boys in most contemporary children's books. The family that lives in Matchstick Castle is funny and weird and attractive. the author manages to throw in information about exotic places that the readers might find intriguing. I found myself chuckling during the the scenes in "City Hall", when it turns out the children, of course, know more about computers than the adults.
This is a silly tale of boy vs. boring summer. Any kid who has ever dreamed he would discover an exciting adventure just beyond the edge of his backyard will relate to it. Eleven-year-old Brian is doomed to a summer spent doing extra schoolwork under his uncle’s watchful tutelage, but when he stumbles upon a haphazardly built home in the woods beyond the backyard, he is drawn into the world of the eccentric Van Dash family. With them he will face adventure, danger, and have to decide when it is okay to disobey authority. It’s a gentle, funny story with just a dash of childhood rebellion.
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