Alistair Grim’s Odditorium and Alistair Grim’s Odd Aquaticum
by Gregory Funaro
Note: Alistair Grimm’s Odd Aquaticum will be released in the U.S. on January 5th, 2016 by Disney-Hyperion. A link to preorder is included at the bottom of this review.
As a teacher, I’m often searching for books that are complex, well-written, and engaging all at the same time. With Gregory Funaro’s Odditorium series, readers have hit the jackpot. Both books create a steampunk-inspired magical universe in which anything can, and does, happen. Readers will be instantly hooked by the well-developed characters, the fast-paced plot, and the intelligent cliffhangers.
Allistair Grimm’s Odditorium tells the story of a chimney sweep apprentice named Grubb who gets swept up (haha) in an unexpected adventure. As he learns more about Allistair Grimm, the man who takes him in and brings him along on his magical journeys, he begins to see how he may fit in as a part of the team. As Allistair Grimm, Grubb and friends seek to rid London of the evil Prince Nightshade, readers are quickly entranced by the adventure.
Allistair Grimm’s Odd Aquaticum follows the same crew as the mystery deepens and the action picks up. With magic and mystical folklore galore, this sequel will be a great fit for middle grade readers and adults that love connections to the classics. In this book, the story is laid out even more strongly and the characters are well developed.
It’s very hard to write summaries for the Odditorium books, because there are so many exciting moments that I don’t want to give away! Suffice to say, these books are action-packed with engaging plot twists and major page-turner moments. The series fits in perfectly with a middle grade fandom that loves the Percy Jackson and Harry Potter book universes.
Another huge strength of the series is the brilliant illustrations by Vivienne To. With just enough illustrations to create wonderful visualizations in the reader’s mind, To manages to establish a universe that blends so seamlessly with Funaro’s amazing writing.
Pick up a copy of this book at your local bookstore, on Amazon, or on Kindle. If you like middle grade fantasy, steampunk, or just a good old-fashioned story, you’ll love this one.
The Odditorium series could be a great fit for an independent reading project or a small group read. With such a deep and complex plot, there are many opportunities for meaningful learning.
- There are a lot of points in which the character’s backstories can be pieced together through multiple, seemingly random details. Students can practice inference making and supporting their inferences with evidence from the text.
- Funaro is a master at cliffhanger endings! My third grade students love cliffhanger endings, and Funaro does a great job hinting at one in the conclusion of nearly every chapter. Students can make a list of the cliffhanger endings they spot, then look to see what language and specific words Funaro used to imply cliffhangers.
Title: Alistair Grim’s Odditorium & Alistair Grim’s Odd Aquaticum
Author: Gregory Funaro
Illustrator: Vivienne To
Release Date: January 6th, 2016
Price: US $16.99
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book from Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own. Thanks for reading!