The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
|The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: In the mould of A Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time, Ted brings his unique perspective to bear in the search for his missing cousin. Wonderful stuff, suitable for ages eight to eighty-eight.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: June 2007|
|Publisher: David Fickling Books|
When Aunt Gloria and cousin Salim come to stay with Ted and his family before emigrating to the United States, Salim is insistent they visit the London Eye, not the boring Tate Modern. While Mum and Aunt Glo enjoy a coffee Ted, Kat and Salim join the queue for the Eye. A man offers them his ticket - he's afraid of heights, he explains - and so Ted and Kat watch Salim's pod as it gracefully makes its circuit. But when the pod comes back to ground and the passengers alight, Salim is nowhere to be seen.
Aunt Gloria is distraught and the police are called in. But Salim's disappearance is a complete mystery. How can a boy go up in a pod but not come down? He has vanished into thin air. It's down to Ted, whose brain runs on its own unique operating system, to solve the mystery.
The London Eye Mystery, like The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, features a boy on the autistic spectrum as its main character. Ted is on the "high-functioning" end of the spectrum and attends normal school, where he's been christened a "neek" - a cross between a geek and a nerd - but he manages pretty well. Ted wants to be a meteorologist when he grows up and spends a lot of time listening to the shipping forecasts. He assesses each day by its weather - cloud formations, pressure levels - and this helps him feel safe. He tries to read body language and understand figures of speech, but he isn't always successful. When things go wrong his arm flaps, and when they go horribly wrong he needs to bounce or to find something to kick rhythmically.
But when Salim disappears, Ted screws up his courage, battens down his fears and uses his unique perspective to solve a seemingly unsolvable mystery. And that's the wonderful thing about The London Eye Mystery; it's such a romantic story. Not only is the hero bright and brave; he must also battle tremendous odds. Ted finds his missing cousin, but other things too - a relationship with his sister, the ability to tell a lie in a good cause and, most importantly, the ability to cope on his own in the "real world". You simply can't fail to be inspired by this singular child. Suddenly, for the reader, people like Ted are no longer other, no longer someone to fear or ridicule, but someone to recognise and, still better, someone to admire.
It's beautifully written in Ted's inimitable deadpan style, which is both unintentionally funny and tremendously touching. Although it is suited more to slightly younger readers than Curious Incident - older children and adults will probably solve the mystery before even Ted - The London Eye Mystery should nevertheless while away a few happy hours for all readers, aged eight to eighty-eight. I loved it and I think Ted would make a wonderful meteorologist. We could certainly do an awful lot worse.
My thanks to the good people at David Fickling for sending the book.
You can read more book reviews or buy The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd at Amazon.com.
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