Once in a while, I throw in a review of a juvenile book. Looking for a present for a boy in the house? I’m not saying girls won’t enjoy Patrick Carman’s Floors, but if you have a boy between the ages of nine and twelve, one who wants a fast-paced book with humor and odd inventions, this is the book.
Merganzer Whippet was fifteen when his father died, and the last words he said were, “You will prosper in the field of wacky inventions.” When Merganzer Whippet disappeared for one hundred days, he left behind the Whippet Hotel, filled with hidden passages, secret rooms, strange inventions, mysterious card keys to those secret rooms, and ducks. Leo Fillmore was only ten, but he and his father, the maintenance men, took care of the entire hotel and all of the eccentric guests. The only fly in the ointment was Ms. Sparks, the general manager. She had long fingers, an enormous beehive hairdo, and gave the staff the evil eye as she ordered them around.
It was Betty, one of the ducks, that led Leo into the most important four days of his life. It was while herding ducks that he found a box, with a mysterious message to him, sending him from one end of the hotel to the other, searching for clues. It wasn’t long before he teamed up with Remi, the new young doorman, and son of the hotel maid. While trying to keep the hotel from breaking down, Leo had to hide from his father and Ms. Sparks, sneaking into rooms that held robots or trains, or rooms that were haunted. And, the directions indicated Leo only had four days to find the four boxes, and he was supposed to try to have a duck with him at all times.
The twists and turns in this story are not just in the hotel. Carman gives the story an unusual twist at the end, one not really expected, but very appropriate. The escapades in Floors were fun, and challenging. Most readers will wish they were in Leo’s shoes as he tries to follow the maze of clues left by Merganzer Whippet.
The publicity material I received for this book said, “There’s mystery. There’s humor. There’s imagination. And there are ducks. What more could you want?” Indeed. What more would any young reader want than Leo Fillmore’s adventures in Patrick Carman’s Floors?
Patrick Carman’s website is www.patrickcarman.com
Floors by Patrick Carman. Scholastic Press. ©2011. ISBN 9780545255196 (hardcover), 272p.
FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.