From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6 Thatcher is reluctantly sent to spend the summer between sixth and seventh grades helping his great-uncle Griswald run his Museum of the Strange and Curious on the boardwalk of the fictional coastal tourist town of Las Huesas, CA. When a girl, Shoal, breaks into the museum and steals a witch's head, Thatcher pursues her. He soon finds himself in a world of maritime monsters that might just might be plotting to destroy civilization. He allies himself with Trudy, a girl with the tools and the talents of a detective, and eventually with Shoal, to save the world. (The Squid doesn't appear until the end, but it's worth the wait.) Van Eekhout carefully balances his tongue in his cheek with some really creepy situations, and the result is a humorous fantasy that will rush over young readers like a tidal wave. Walter Minkel, Austin Public Library, TX
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Thatcher Hill is a little mortified to be spending the summer with his weird great-uncle Griswald in his superweird Museum of Curiosities on the coast. And things just keep on getting weirder and weirder after a young girl breaks into the museum and absconds with the What-Is-It?? (which might be a severed head in a box, or just a wrinkled old melon). It turns out that she is a princess of the cursed people of Atlantis, who are doomed to spend their winters floating half drowned at sea and their summers hawking schlock on the boardwalk. Thatcher, helped by the princess and another girl, dukes it out with a slimy, scaly, betentacled cast of monsters (controlled by the head in the What-Is-It??) to try to find a way to reverse the curse. The internal logic of the story is joyfully convoluted and not even close to airtight, and although the book is better at being funny than being exciting, it does offer a fair share of both en route to the showdown promised by the title. Grades 4-7. --Ian Chipman