Alistair Grim's Odditorium by Greg Funaro

Prepare yourself to enter the world of Alistair Grim’s Odditorium – you’ll be glad you came.

Funaro’s Odditorium takes the reader on a ride into a world full of magic and monsters that will keep the MG reader enthralled and entertained. The main character, Grubb, is an orphan who is taken into a home of a caring woman, Mrs. Smears, and her gruff husband. When she passes, Grubb is left with Mr. Smears, who puts the boy to work as a chimney sweep. He spends the next six years trapped with the abusive Smears until he sees his chance for escape.  He ends up at the home of Mr. G, the mysterious owner of a collection of magical and odd items.

At first, Grubb’s story seemed to parallel another orphan boy who finds he is part of a magical world, but the story takes enough twists and turns that it feels fresh and original. Funaro weaves strong character lessons into the story – honesty, loyalty, and courage – but isn’t over the top.

I would recommend this book to readers who love being taken into a fantastic world and crave adventure. The action and pace would also be perfect for your reluctant reader.