‘The Shrunken Head (Curiosity House)’ – Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester

The Shrunken Head


I know people say not to judge a book by its cover, but the artwork is a major part of this novel and it adds another dimension to what is a well-written and exciting mystery. Perhaps this book is not for everyone, but I think it’s perfect for the 9-12 age range as it delivers on adventure, a great cast of characters and it isn’t patronising to the reader.

The blurb promises something a little different and, in my opinion, firmly delivers.

The story is set in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities and Wonders. It focuses on four extraordinary children – Thomas, Sam, Pippa and Max – whose abilities make them quite unique. Just how special these children are isn’t revealed until later.

Our mystery concerns a shrunken head, a rapidly increasing death count and the childrens’ determination to find out the identity of the killer.

There was a real sense of historical interest in this novel, and, while all the characters were interesting, it is the bond between the four children that stands out.

This first in the series sets up a number of strands that you are likely to be enchanted by. I can’t wait to see where the writers go¬†with part two. The test of this book’s appeal for me will be whether my middle child – a rather fussy reader – will want to finish it. He’s already spotted the cover and read the blurb…the signs are good!