The Screaming Staircase
Stroud, Jonathan. New York: Disney Hyperion, 2013. 9781423164913
Quantitative Reading Level:
This book has not yet been officially released. It is listed as a grade 3-6 interest level.
Qualitative Reading Analysis:
I would rate this as Middle Low on the “Text Complexity: Qualitative Measures Rubric for Literary Text”. The text structure is fairly straightforward but it does have a few flashbacks that interrupt the normal flow of time. In addition, the book is written by British author and takes place in England so the setting will be slightly unfamiliar. The “problem” which is an infestation of ghosts and other paranormal activity make this a fantasy novel and although it has a modern feel it is obviously an alternate reality.
There is a big “problem” in London. All sorts of ghosts and other paranormals have invaded. There is a curfew and many companies are making money selling iron products to repel the ghosts. In addition, there are many companies that employ children, with their natural psychic, to fight and get rid of the “problem”. Lockwood and Company is run by Anthony Lockwood who is himself a child. The only other employees are George and Lucy. After an unfortunate accident during a case Lockwood and Company are forced to undertake a suspicious and dangerous case in order to save not only their reputations but also their company.
Author’s Website: http://www.jonathanstroud.com/index.htm
I really enjoyed this book. It had good elements of mystery and creepy without being too over the top. I figured out some of the mystery pretty early on but I don’t think the intended audience would catch on as early as I did. Readers will enjoy Lockwood and Company taking on the ghosts without adult help and how the characters figure out and solve the mystery.
Anthony: Anthony is the leader of the group. He is willing to take some risks to save his company. He is able to “see” the ghosts before the others.
George: George is the brains of the group. He does a lot of the research into the history of the various haunted locations.
Lucy: Lucy has the ability to “hear” the ghosts. She has made some mistakes in the past and feels she has a lot to prove.
Series Information: This is the first book in a new series called Lockwood and Co.
High Interest Annotation: Lockwood and Co. feel that they have a lot to prove both to themselves and to the other adult-run companies. Have they taken on more than they can handle?