cover image Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame (The Enchanted Attic #1)

Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame (The Enchanted Attic #1)

L.L. Samson. Zonderkidz, $7.99 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-0310727958

Adult novelist Samson (The Passion of Mary-Margaret) jumps into the middle-grade kid lit pool with a fun fantasy steeped in classic literature. Fourteen-year-old twins Ophelia and Linus Easterday are left in the care of their aunt and uncle by their parents, itinerant lepidopterists who sail off to the island of Willis to study butterflies. In the home of their Uncle Augustus and Aunt Portia (also twins) the younger twins discover an attic. It’s connected to the previous homeowner, the scientist Cato Grubbs. When bookworm Ophelia uses the attic as a reading retreat, she discovers that life can imitate art when the character Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame materializes in the attic. Narrator Bartholomew Inkster brings Lemony Snicket–like irony to frame the story. Self-conscious chapter titles (“Welcoming the Character that Rounds Things Out”) and references to literature throughout the narrative make this a feast for middle-grade book lovers. Kids who like quirky adventure stories with idiosyncratic characters will enjoy a simpler kind of fun. Ages 9–12. (May)