THE WATCHERS by Helen Cresswell


Age Range: 8 - 12
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 Two runaways from a gloomy English children's home--11-year- old Katy and 9-year-old Josh--hide out at the Alton Towers amusement park. But they discover they're not alone: Homeless Ollie and his vicious leader, the ``King,'' intimidate the kids into stealing food for them. And then there's the mysterious mute bag lady, who can turn invisible and an old blind man who plays his magic harp at night in a replica of Stonehenge. It turns out that the blind man, Quantum, is the real King of a magical dimension of Alton; the bag lady, Old Mother Alton, guides orphans and runaways to find a home in Alton; and the homeless King is really the Enemy, who's trying to destroy it all. Only Josh and Katy can trick the Enemy into going on a ride called the Black Hole, which will suck him into eternal limbo. Meanwhile, a manhunt ensues for the runaways, which stirs both Katy's clinically depressed mother and Josh's negligent mom to realize that they want their kids back. (Josh and Katy eventually choose to go home rather than live forever in Alton.) Cresswell (Posy Bates, Again!, p. 554, etc.) writes with suspense, builds her outlandish plot craftily, and makes Josh and Katy totally convincing. An engrossing, surprisingly moving, and original novel. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-02-725371-6
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1994


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