Crown Books for Young Readers
August 09, 2016
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“Such deliciously creepy fun! I fell in love with Dr. Fell! So will urchins and whippersnappers everywhere.” —Chris Grabenstein, author of the New York Times bestsellers Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and The Island of Dr. Libris
When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the neighborhood kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell.
Only Jerry, Nancy, and Gail are immune to the lure of his extravagant wonderland. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up on the jungle gym, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery.
Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom is a fun and creative Middle Grade fantasy read. I really enjoyed the main characters Jerry, Gail and Nancy. Best friends Gail Bloom and Nancy Pinkblossom are ten-years-old and Gail's younger brother Jerry Bloom is eight. The half-caring, half-irritated relationship between Gail and Jerry really fit for a brother and sister of that age. They stick up for each other, look after each other and worry about each other, but can still find the other annoying.
I kind of loved that Nancy and Jerry are each other's "worst nightmare" (pg 3) and call each other names yet you can tell there isn't any real animosity.
The playground in Dr Fell's yard - that seems to grow ever more extravagant and larger with a pirate ship and/or a spaceship and/or a pyramid, etc - was at once a bit goofy but also unsettling. With Gail, Jerry and Nancy the only children not captivated b the playground and not playing on it, readers can see how something if 'off' about it.
Their journey to uncover the truth about the playground and Dr Fell does a fantastic job blending friendship, humor, mystery, a bit of confusion, maybe a few frightening bits and definitely some anxiety. It' really is a fun read and you aren't going ot see all of the twists and turns ocming.
Another Book You May Also Enjoy: Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar
arc received for review thanks to publisher