The Matchstick Castle
by Keir Graff (Author)
Booktalk: Brian can think of a few places he’d rather spend his summer than with his aunt and uncle in Boring, Illinois. Jail, for example. Or an earplug factory. Anything would be better than doing summer school on a computer while his scientist dad is stationed at the South Pole.
Boring lives up to its name until Brian and his cousin Nora have a fight, get lost, and discover a huge, wooden house in the forest. With balconies, turrets, and windows seemingly stuck on at random, it looks ready to fall over in the next stiff breeze. To the madcap, eccentric family that lives inside, it’s not just a home–it’s a castle.
Suddenly, summer gets a lot more exciting. With their new friends, Brian and Nora tangle with giant wasps, sharp-tusked wild boars, and a crazed bureaucrat intent on bringing the dangerously dilapidated old house down with a wrecking ball.
Snippet: Besides falling, there wasn’t anything else I could do. I started wriggling downward, squeezing the rope between my feet to take some of the weight off my hands.
Looking up, I saw Cosmo and Nora watching me. They were a long way up. And the farther down I went, the darker it got.
“What do I do when I get to the bottom?” I called.
“That’s easy. Take the middle door and go left, then right, then down the hall to the dead end. Open the secret door, climb the stairs, and we’ll meet you there.”
I repeated the directions in my mind so I wouldn’t forget them. Middle door . . . left . . right . . . down the hall to the dead end. Open the secret door–secret door?
“Cosmo!” I shouted. “How do I find the secret door?”
But they were already gone.
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