The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Lewis Barnavelt Series #1)

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Lewis Barnavelt Series #1)

by John Bellairs, Edward Gorey

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A haunting gothic tale by master mysery writer John Bellairs--soon to be a major motion picture starring Cate Blanchett and Jack Black!

"The House With a Clock in Its Walls will cast its spell for a long time."--The New York Times Book Review

When Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan. comes to stay with his uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. But he is wrong. Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbor, Mrs. Zimmermann, are both magicians! Lewis is thrilled. At first, watchng magic is enough. Then Lewis experiments with magic himself and unknowingly resurrects the former owner of the house: a woman named Selenna Izard. It seems that Selenna and her husband built a timepiece into the walls--a clock that could obliterate humankind. And only the Barnavelts can stop it!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101659717
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 08/03/2004
Series: Lewis Barnavelt Series , #1
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 65,788
Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
File size: 3 MB
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

John Anthony Bellairs (1938–1991) is an award-winning American author, perhaps best known for his fantasy novel The Face in the Frost. He is also the author of many gothic mystery novels for children and young adults, including The House with a Clock in its Walls (which received both the New York Times Outstanding Book of Award and the American Library Association Children's Books of International Interest Award), The Lamp from the Warlock’s Tomb (which won the Edgar Allen Poe Award), and The Specter from the Magician’s Museum (which won the New York Public Library "Best Books for the Teen Age" Award.

Customer Reviews

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The House with a Clock in Its Walls 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun little ghost story.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss the back of your hand three times and and post this on three diffrent books and look under your pillow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is nicely suspenseful and mildly scary without being terrifying. It’s a good book for anyone who likes mystery and magic.
jinxleah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of the first books that I read that truly made an impression on me. It has remained a favorite of mine since I read it in the late 1970's. It's the story of Lewis Barnavelt after his parents die and he moves in with his Uncle Jonathan. It turns out that Uncle Jonathon is a witch, as is his next door neighbor and best friend, Mrs. Zimmerman. Uncle Jonathon bought the big house that he lives in after the Izzard's, the former owners, died. Lewis is a slightly overweight boy with a love for books who can't find any friends at his new school. He ends up getting in trouble when he tries to do some magic to impress someone at school, and it is a race against time to try to stop the end of the world. To this day, I still enjoy donuts and cider on Halloween.
heidilove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
loved getting introduced to jonathon and mrs. zimmerman.
lizzybeans11 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My family read this book when I was young and it stuck with us. I never remembered much of the details, but just the idea of a mysterious house with a clock in its walls was a vivid image.After re-reading it as an adult, I still didn't remember much of what happened - which was good because I was really into this book. It's definitely spooky, but I don't think it's "scary". It has great pacing and amazing images by Edward Gorey. I highly recommend it for younger kids who also like Harry Potter, etc.
Eurekas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful characters, funny and mysterious enough for a ten year old. There are a few scary scenes but most of the book is not, and the ones that are resolve in a satisfying way. The Edward Gorey illustrations are great.
JechtShot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lewis Barnavelt is a recent orphan who is sent to live with his uncle Jonathan (a wizard) in Michigan. In an attempt to gain popularity, Lewis tries his hand at Necromancy and manages to resurrect the previous tenant of his new home. The witch that has recently rejoined the living knows what secrets dwell within the walls of Jonathan's home. The house has a clock hidden somewhere within the walls and it is ticking towards the worlds end.I remember reading and enjoying this book as a kid in the mid-80's. Many years later I came across The House with a Clock in its Walls at my local Half Price Books and thought $2.98 seemed like a fair price to re-read a childhood favorite. The book brought back fond memories, but did not quite live up to my youthful memories. It was still a fun and quick read, but definitely geared towards a younger audience.
narwhaltortellini on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After the death of his parents, Lewis goes to live with his scruffy but friendly uncle Jonathan in his huge old mansion. There he discovers that Jonathan, as well as his friend and neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman, are able to use magic. However, the former and much more shady owner of the house was also a wizard, and it seems he has left behind a ticking clock whose sound permeates all walls of the house. A seeming ominous warning, but of what?I picked this book up upon hearing some people found it very creepy in their childhood. I didn't really expect to enjoy it near as much being an adult, but I've some appreciation for books aimed at younger people and I figured the read would be quick enough that the time it took would be worth seeing what everyone was twittering about.In the end I guess the characterization and prose were in their simplicity aimed just a little too young for me to find much interest in my reading experience. Still I don't read enough books aimed at this age to compare it to others, so I don't feel much sport in trying to judge it (though I'm sure it's no worse than average and possibly better).Still, while most of the time I only kept reading because I knew it would be over soon, I was able to appreciate at least some aspects of it, like the idea of the clock in the walls which the story revolves around. It's a nice idea that works a lot better with it's mystery and slightly disquieting creepiness than a lot of more overtly ¿scary¿ things you might find in kid's books. Just in general I do get the impression that the suspense in the book is better done than what I can remember from things like the Goosebumps books I read as a kid.Also, the dialogue between Uncle Jonathan and his friend Mrs. Zimmermann is always snappy and absolutely entertaining. It provided some of the only moments in the book where I really enjoyed myself while reading rather than just having a vague adult's appreciation of craft. The two are really both so amusing together that I almost think that even as a child I may have preferred to read a novel from their point of view rather than the sympathetic enough but rather bland (and slightly pathetic) main character Lewis.I'm a little bit surprised this book is called a 'scary' book, though, when it seems almost more fantasy and most of the suspenseful/scary parts seem more reminiscent of the more suspenseful bits of a Harry Potter book (though less threatening, perhaps because of the younger audience) rather than any horror book I've read. I feel a little guilty giving it a rating when I'm really not who should be reading it, but as it was mostly what I expected with a few particularly entertaining or respectable bits, I'll give it a bit above average. Though I suspect for children who can better appreciate the parts specifically aimed to please them (such as the little magic shows and copious amounts of sweets that seem to be consumed through the story) and aren't as bored by the lack of interesting personality in the main character, it may rate higher.
Millie_Hennessy More than 1 year ago
This is a pretty short read, and while the details are minimal, they’re just enough. Lewis is a great character – he’s not your typical child hero. He’s overweight, has low self-esteem and almost no friends. But he’s happy with his new home and immediately takes to the idea that his uncle and neighbor have powers. He also loves to read historical non-fiction books; the kind I would find boring even as an adult, let alone as a child. And when the going gets tough later in the story, Lewis proves to be braver than he gives himself credit for. By page 6 Bellairs sets the scene for spooky happenings with Jonathan’s strange reaction to the town clock striking the hour. From there, we follow Lewis as he explores the large home of his quirky, magician uncle. Lewis enjoys his new home, despite his uncle’s nighttime excursions to quest for the hidden clock. Mrs. Z and Uncle Jonathan are instantly warm and welcoming to Lewis – I think it would have been too depressing if he’d been unhappy with his new caretakers and living in a possibly-haunted house. Lewis spends much of his time exploring, playing games (magical and otherwise) with Jonathan and Mrs. Z and reading. He’s a book sniffer too, which I appreciate. Jonathan and Mrs. Z have a great relationship, full of sarcasm and well-meant teasing. They’re constantly calling each other weird names like Brush Mush and Hag Face. While the search for the clock is the main plotline, the book isn’t overly spooky. There’s magic and ghosts and a plot to destroy the world, but what kept me invested in the story was Lewis. He’s quiet and introspective and I really enjoyed following his character. One nitpick I have is that Lewis doesn’t seem particularly upset about the loss of his parents. He thinks about them periodically and while it doesn’t seem like he was really close with them, I would think he’d be more upset. Overall, it doesn’t largely affect the story, but it’s something I wondered about now and then. Maybe Bellairs didn’t want to tackle too much. I definitely recommend this for: - Younger readers looking for something a little spoopy, with a relatable main character -MG lovers of all ages looking for a quick fall read -Anyone who collects books Edward Gorey illustrated
bradsucks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was one of my favorite books as a kid. I can't say it holds up that well as adult reading. Nice atmosphere, but it drags near the end.
caerulius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lewis Barnavelt is a bookish, chubby orphan who has come to live with his eccentric uncle after the deaths of his parents. Lewis has troubles: he doesn't make friends easily, and so spends a lot of time very lonely. He takes a great and immediate liking to his uncle, and to his Uncle's best friend and next-door-neighbor, but they aren't what one might expect... they're witches! And the great old house his uncle lives in once belonged to an evil warlock who hid a strange device inside it, that his uncle has not managed to find. But in the middle of the night, the house is permeated by the ticking of a hidden clock, counting down...Such a fun book. Very 50s in feel, which is appropriate, since I believe that is when it is set.
danbarrett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am in love with John Bellairs. Another classic that I practically tore apart in my younger years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
4 stars.I liked the part at the end with Lewis smashing the clock.What I didn't like was the part with Tarby getting in a fight with Lewis and calling him fatty and tubbo.Overall a great book and I recommend reading it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
different and worthwhile
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book terrified me when I read it as a kid..... then I read it about a dozen more times. Decided to reread it before seeing the movie, and it’s still really creepy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If it’s not one thing it’s another. Something is always happening and you never know what to expect. A good fast read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this prior to the movie opening. It was a fast read and suspensefull with a good message to the story. Perhaps is too young for adults.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really really good
Laine-librariancanreadtoo More than 1 year ago
Tick, tick, tick, tick. Back and forth. Forth and back. Ding, ding. Ding, ding. Every clock is different. They have a certain rhythm to them and that rhythm can either be soothing or darn right annoying. But once you find that right clock, all is well in the world. Except if it's a doomsday clock that when it strikes a certain time the world will end, then yea, there might be some concerns. Lewis Barnavelt, just recently orphaned has to go and live with his estranged Uncle Jonathan in an estranged house. Everything that Lewis thought was up and down has now been turned sideways and that can be very hard for a little boy. So when he found out that his Uncle and his new neighbor are witches and warlock's, well that could send anyone over the edge. That is until Lewis starts hearing ticking of a the walls! Mysterious happenings start occurring in Lewis's new life and not all of it's pleasant. Especially when he accidentally raises a dead powerful witch who designed the doomsday clock and wants to reactive it. Lewis, Uncle Jonathan and their witch neighbor must join forces and defeat this powerful witch if they ever want peace again in their sleepy town. ** Okay...I don't usually comment my thoughts about books but I just have to comment on this one. I actually did NOT enjoy this book. For one, I got an older copy of the book and it was all musty and the pages were already turned yellow and the font was just horrible. Second, it took FOREVER to get into, and when you did get into it the book was done!!! Oh and the whole thing about the doomsday clock, it wasn't that very exciting. The book felt like it was just rambling on and on and it was sort of building up to this epic fight and when the fight actually happened I had to reread it to make sure I didn't miss any details. Well, I didn't miss anything and I'm still just as confused as when I started this book. I heard that this book was going to be made into a movie and I'm just like what made this book seem worthy to have it's own movie? Is it really getting that bad in Hollywood they have to resort to ANYTHING??? Hopefully the movie will be better and there will be some excitement but if it's like the book...I wouldn't hold my breath
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A simple easy read for kids to get them into liking books. It was the author that got me started in literature. Would suggest it to any parent to get for there child or to read themselves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book with my class. As soon as I started reading it I couldn't stop reading!