Cover image for Alistair Grim's Odditorium
Alistair Grim's Odditorium
Funaro, Gregory.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York ; Los Angeles : Disney-Hyperion, [2015]
Physical Description:
412 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
In Victorian England Grubb, an orphan about twelve years old, escapes his life of drudgery as a chimney sweep's apprentice and finds himself in a very strange house filled with magical objects and creatures, but soon he learns that there are dark forces seeking his new master.
Reading Level:
860 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.8 12.0 172481.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Audubon Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Clarence Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Hamburg Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Lackawanna Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Lancaster Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

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A New York Times Best Seller "Verne-ian fantasy and reversal of fortune la Dickens willlure readers into this good-vs.-evil series debut."-Kirkus Reviews

"Ideal for kids who loved Percy Jackson and Harry Potter." -Booklist

"With a dash of Dickens and more than a bit of Rowling, this first book in a proposed series should have no trouble finding an audience."-VOYA

Grubb, age twelve (or thereabouts), has never known anything beyond his miserable existence as a chimney sweep, paid only in insults and abuse by his cruel master.

All of that changes the day he stows away in the coach belonging to a mysterious guest at the inn that he is tasked with cleaning. Grubb emerges from Alistair Grim's trunk and into the wondrous world of the Odditorium. Fueled by a glowing blue energy that Grubb can only begin to understand, the Odditorium is home to countless enchanted objects and an eccentric crew that embraces Grubb as one of their own.

There's no time for Grubb to settle into his new role as apprentice to the strange, secretive Mr. Grim. When the Odditorium comes under attack, Grubb is whisked off on a perilous adventure. Only he can prevent the Odditorium's magic from falling into evil hands-and his new family from suffering a terrible fate.

Grubb knows he's no hero. He's just a chimney sweep. But armed with only his courage and wits, Grubb will confront the life-or-death battle he alone is destined to fight.

Author Notes

Gregory Funaro grew up inCranston, Rhode Island, and wrote his first story, "The Ghost in the Window,"in the fourth grade. He considers this to be his finest work, but unfortunatelyit has been lost to time. Following high school, Greg majored in theatre at theUniversity of New Hampshire and, after various acting gigs, received his AM intheatre arts from Brown University and an MFA in acting from the FSU/AsoloConservatory. Greg teaches drama at East Carolina University and is busyworking on the next book in the Odditorium series.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Grubb, a 12-year-old (or thereabouts) chimney sweep who works for the grumpy Mr. Smears, is pulled away on an adventure he never expects in this rollicking fantasy. When running from local bullies, Grubb jumps into Alistair Grim's trunk, and when he steps out, he's at the Odditorium, Grim's home for all things weird and wonderful in old London. He's chased by doom dogs, flies with multicolored fairies, and happily forgets the misery of his early life while working under the dark and enigmatic Alistair Grim. It's not all fun high jinks, however, and soon trouble comes knocking at the Odditorium's door. Funaro's world building and characters are fascinating, and the fast pace and overstuffed plot from war in the air to a daring escape from sea sirens make for an exciting story. Funaro's first book for young readers has all the playfulness of classic adventures like The Phantom Tollbooth and the intrigue of newer steampunk novels, making it a clever mash-up of mystery and merriment, ideal for kids who loved Percy Jackson and Harry Potter.--Comfort, Stacey Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Combining aspects of steampunk and fantasy, Funaro debuts with this fanciful series opener set in a 19th-century London where strange things-Odditoria-exist in secret. Chimney sweep Grubb, "twelve or thereabouts," accidentally ends up in the bizarre Odditorium of the enigmatic Alistair Grim. In this magically empowered mechanical marvel of a building he discovers mobile suits of samurai armor, a petulant fairy, a talking pocketwatch, a playful banshee, and more. But even as Grubb gets used to the constant weirdness of the Odditorium, he and its inhabitants are drawn into a conflict against the wicked Prince Nightshade and his legions of re-animated skeletal warriors and other monsters. Funaro's knack for memorable characters and scenarios shines in this frenetic, entertaining romp. Action and mayhem abound, and although the story risks overloading readers with too many disparate elements and unusual creations (a glossary is included), Funaro brings it all together with clever worldbuilding. The story is enhanced by To's illustrations, which blend realism and exaggeration to great effect. Ages 10-13. Author's agent: Bill Contardi, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. Illustrator's agent: Shannon Associates. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-The wondrous Odditorium, a unique mechanical/magical apparatus, houses a collection of curious people and objects, including quick-witted Grubb. Told in the engaging brogue of an apprentice chimney sweeper, this novel seems to have all the ingredients for a fun middle grade read, blending fantasy with Dickensian-esque fiction. Although the initial ideas and characters have strong promise, the execution of the story is rather ordinary. Most notably, the potential of the Odditorium is lost when the plot shifts away from the discovery of its secrets and changes tack to follow a more traditional plotline plagued with contrivance, as underdog Grubb confronts the villain, Prince Nightshade. Secondary characters are caricaturelike and the writing style devolves from Grubb's charming direct address of the reader to focus on plot and dialogue. Thus when the author shifts back to the blithe period conversation in the very last chapter, the change is unpleasantly abrupt. Periodic black-and-white illustrations have a flat, squared-off cartoon style. Though they don't do much to expand the story, their inclusion may help this title appeal to some readers. VERDICT This fantasy/adventure series will be best appreciated by younger middle grade readers; an additional purchase.-Erin Reilly-Sanders, Ohio State University, Columbus (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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