Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Ogre Downstairs - Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones' The Ogre Downstairs is an interesting book. The Ogre is Casper, Johnny and Gwinny's new stepfather whom their mother Sally has recently married. He is a large, stern man who is not at all interested in children, despite having two sons of his own: Douglas and Malcolm. His first wife left him years before - and Sally's children aren't at all surprised to learn this. The five children and two adults are living together in the same house, but uncomfortably because a four room house isn't really big enough for 7 people. One day, however, the Ogre brings home two chemistry sets, one each for Malcolm and Johnny. That's when the fun begins, as each side of the family discovers that these are no ordinary chemistry sets. The second layer of chemicals in the box contain various powders and potions that give the "users" the power to fly, become invisible, shrink, or change colours, and one turns inanimate objects into animate ones - with quite startling consequences. The experiments have other side effects too, quite unexpected side effects that are positive rather than negative. I don't want to say any more as I'd rather not spoil the entertainment that can be drawn from this is a clever and funny book. Suffice it to say that I recommend it.

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As you will have noticed from my post on Friday, the Blogger Beta team and I resolved the issue of posting pictures on my Blog - which is a definite plus, and the thumbnail that you're shown of the picture that you're posting is very helpful, especially if you forget to save a picture with an obvious filename !

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