Steensland, Mark and Illustrated by Murphy, Kelly Behind the Bookcase 288 pgs. Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2012. $12.21. (Rating: PG)
Sarah’s family is trying to fix up their grandmothers house so they can sell it. Its more than spooky and after finding an interest note, Sarah pulls out a bookcase from the wall and falls into a world called Scotopia. It’s a creepy place, a land where shadows are born, and its ruled by the King of Cats. Sarah starts to think that something is wrong when she meets a boy with only half a face. Then she starts to meet more children that have met with misfortune in Scotopia. Can she save them and herself?
I was eager to read this book since it was featured at my pre-Halloween book fair and it was a big seller. Unfortunately it reminded me strongly of the most disturbing movie I have ever seen, Pans Labyrinth. I think that most children want to find a secret door to Narnia, not a door to a waking nightmare. Besides my fundamental distaste for this book, there were other issues. Poor character development; Sarah was incredibly bossy (the other characters couldn't even spit without consulting her), a questionable illustration, and the ending was a bit confusing. I wouldn't let this near my library collection.
ELEMENTARY–NOT RECOMMENDED Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary Librarian & Author.