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Walls Within Walls Paperback – June 12, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Twelve-year-old CJ, his nine-year-old sister Brid, and six-year-old Patrick Smithfork resent leaving Brooklyn for Manhattan, even though they are pleased that their dad's video-game company has struck it rich. Finding a wall, a painting, and a book behind a grille in their historical Fifth Avenue apartment, the children start to decipher clues that send them on an architectural treasure hunt. Their neighbor Eloise Post hopes that the hunt will reveal the whereabouts of her father's lost fortune from the 1930s. The man left a book of poems by Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and others that lead to seven famous structures around the city. This debut novel is a breathtaking romp, focusing on the work of little-known master tile mason and architect Rafael Guastavino. Sherry's passion will make readers fall in love with New York and the poems that portray its many personalities. Full-page illustrations appear throughout. There is a majesty to the author's juxtaposition of monument and poem, although this grandeur masks some of the book's irregularities. The third-person perspective shifts in a way that distances readers from the main characters and impedes character development. Secondary figures are sometimes sketched lightly, although the implied sequel may develop them more fully. Similar to “The 39 Clues” (Scholastic) books or Michael D. Beil's “The Red Blazer Girls” (Knopf), this story incorporates many subplots but lacks a tidy narrative. Nevertheless, readers will relish being tourists on this treasure hunt, no matter what. Pick it up and watch for the sequel.Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

The Smithfork children, at least the older ones, CJ, Brid, and Patrick—12, 9, and 6, respectively—are unhappy about leaving Brooklyn for Manhattan. Their father’s video-game business is so lucrative that they’re moving to a fabulous Fifth Avenue apartment once owned by the Post family. The kids are as depressed as they are unimpressed, until they notice something unusual about the place. Turns out the apartment is a giant puzzle filled with codes, clues, and carvings that seem to point toward a secret fortune. But finding it and figuring out who it belongs to takes skill, stamina, and the ability to conduct searches across the city without tipping their hand. This can be dense, but like Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer (2004), it packs all sorts of interesting information about topics like history and architecture into a mystery that kids can (almost) solve. Although the way the children run around Manhattan may raise some eyebrows, readers will get a real feel for the uniqueness that is New York City. Grades 4-7. --Ilene Cooper --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books; Reprint edition (June 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061767034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061767036
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Do you want to read a book that draws you into another world? If you like to read books that absorb you completely, read Walls Within Walls by Maureen Sherry. When Brid, CJ, and Patrick move with their family from Brooklyn to 5th avenue--Manhattan--they don't know what to do. Dad is always away on business for his new multi-million dollar company and Mom is busy decorating the new house. When Brid accidentally looks behind a broken metal grille, she finds a large, mysterious eye, painted on a hidden wall. The three siblings become entangled with the mystery of the fortune of Mr. Post. Mr. Post was a multi-millionaire and had made a puzzle, that if solved, would lead to his fortune. The siblings discover a code encrypted on the painted eye. This is the first piece of Mr. Post's puzzle. It is crucial for the children to work together and cooperate with their friends, to solve the puzzle. They soon discover that a sinister man--who intrudes into their house--is looking for the fortune too.
This book teems with the mystery and excitement, which every book should have. Walls within Walls is written with detail and care, as you will appreciate during the children's trek into the large and dangerous city of New York. While getting trapped in dark-flooded subways, followed by treasure hunters, and escaping dangerous areas, the children make friends with many different people. The artwork is magnificent and meticulous as is the book. I think there needs to be more of an introduction to the characters and their family. Otherwise the book is packed with excitement, action and adventure as Patrick, CJ and Brid find themselves in an exciting mystery in the Big Apple.
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Format: Hardcover
Walls Within Walls is a fantastic book. It is very well written and I throughly enjoyed it. The plot and characters are very good. Maureen Sherry creativily weaves together bits and pieces to form the main mystery. THe plot has a web of many clues which make it even more enjoyable. I really recommend Walls Within Walls to anyone who loves a great story!
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Format: Hardcover
A great story including New York history, famous figures and families, and the magic of siblings solving a mystery together. This is a wonderful tale of children meeting the many challenges of a move and quickly discovering that their new home has a special story of its own. I especially loved the underlying notion of a home having a unique history of the families who have lived and loved there, and how this is continued each time a new family moves in. Can't wait for the Smithforks' next mystery!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Perhaps an old-fashioned type of children's book, I found it both entertaining and educational. It was so refreshing to read a story that moved at a less frenetic pace than much of modern children's literature, which gave me time to savor the fun as I read. I imagine it would be such fun to read this book out loud to your favorite child and share discussions of it with them. I grew up in New York, not far from the city, but this book showed me I had much to learn about that great city. Highly recommended for children and lovers of YA literature!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book very much. It was well written. The characters were interesting and the poetry was easy to read and enjoy. I felt like I had a movie going on inside my head as I read this because everything was well described. It made me think of New York City in a different way and I wish I could have seen the beauty of the city back then. It was both a mystery novel and historical, but very interesting reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was well written, fun to read and hard to put down. Though it was written for a younger audience, I really enjoyed reading it. The character were developed nicely. The plot is captivating and moves quickly. The suspense was light yet stimulating. Well done.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose to give this book 5 stars because the book was so intriguing and I could never set this book down and finding out the mystery I mean it's so hard to find books this good!!! I like how every thing turns out in this book, like there are so many turns and twists that you do not expect. I recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in mystery, I mean that's what the book is all about! :) I LOVED THIS BOOK!
- it's the best book I've ever read. Written by a fourth grader.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a great story for pre-teens.
I'm a mom, but I got it for my son. While he has not yet read it, I picked it up - and got hooked. I read it in a few days because I wanted to find out what the solution was to each puzzle and the final mystery. I enjoyed following the two kids as they worked out puzzles that the adults could not solve. The text was easy to follow and certainly accessible to the intended audience. I also enjoyed learning about New York and the early 1900's as various facts about the mystery were deftly woven into the fictional story. While some puzzles were immediately solved by me before I read the characters' discoveries, I still was entertained by the book and know my son will be, too.
I highly recommend this book to anyone- preteens or their parents-who enjoys a good mystery novel filled with puzzles along the way.
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