From School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Eleven-year-old twins Oz and Lily move into a haunted house inherited from their great-great-uncles, who were triplets. The wallpaper in Lily's room gossips and taunts her, while the mysterious chocolate shop downstairs holds its own charms. The uncles were sorcerers of a sort and developed a magic recipe for chocolate. When one of them defected to the evil side and created a chocolate potion for immortality, he killed his brothers, hoping to retrieve their two golden molds. The only way to achieve the magic combination is by using all three molds as one. Unfortunately, an evil gang has gotten wind of the recipe and has even more dastardly plans. Oz, Lily, and a friend are thrust headlong into an exciting secret mission to stop the evil before it is too late. With the aid of a glamorous talking cat, a feisty cigar-smoking rat, a ghost of an elephant, and even the equivalent of James Bond secret agents, the good versus evil battle begins. This story has adventure, excitement, humor, and magic, and will appeal to boys and girls alike.-D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OHα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Mix chocolate, magic, villains, one immortal uncle, a few invisible and immortal animals, and a couple 11-year-olds, and viola!—a tasty morsel that, in some ways, is reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Unexpectedly, the Spoffards inherit a house from Mr. Spoffard’s great-uncles, who tragically died young in a tram accident in 1938. Twins Lily and Oz are captivated by the house, especially after meeting the resident invisible and immortal (and talking) animals: Demerara the cat and Spike the rat. Demerara and Spike tell the children that their deceased uncles were famous London chocolatiers and that they suspect one brother, Isadore, didn’t really die. The twins soon learn their summer will be quite an adventuresome one. By using magic to foil the children’s unsuspecting parents, the Secret Ministry of the Unexplained enlists the kids to help solve a plot to steal their uncles’ secret chocolate recipe and use it to destroy the world. From one unpredictable plot turn to another, Saunders’ lively characters will endear themselves to readers from start to finish. A great read-aloud, too. Grades 4-6. --J. B. Petty