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Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow: Four Novellas by Daniel Nayeri Hardcover – October 25, 2011
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"With characters deft and real, with language quick and clever, with insight deep and full, these stories lead the reader to wonder, Is this possible? Whatever is going to happen next? And then, incredibly, it is possible, and it happens. Dare to read this."
--National Book Award nominee and two-time Newbery honoree Gary D. Schmidt
"I'm so impressed by the ingenuity of the project as a whole, and Brick House / Wish Police
is sheer genius. I can't remember the last time I've read such a clever and successful plotline."
-- Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park
Nayeri's voice is chameleon-like, easily adapting to the conventions and expectations of each genre without losing a bit of its edge or its wit....Straw House is a delightful amalgam of the high and the low, the silly and the sublime. --BookPage
Four stylistically brilliant novellas offer readers a range of exquisite reading experiences in this collection... Nayeri's storytelling finesse is on full display here, as he creates characters and spins plots out of breathtakingly vivid wordsmithery; each story features language uniquely suited to its ambience and desired emotional effects, whether it be through clever wordplay in chapter titles, futuristic technojargon, a deliciously turned phrase, or a particularly apt metaphor. Language lovers as well as those who appreciate the artistry of a perfectly compact novella will consider this collection a treasure.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
Overall, provocative and deeply satisfying.
From the Back Cover
--Two-time Newbery honoree and Printz honoree Gary D. Schmidt
Top Customer Reviews
But is it a Children's Book? I don't think so. First of all it's a bit confusing. It's set in a different world where Toys are the "people" but instead of being like the Velveteen Rabbit - it's not also populated by humans. It's kind of hard to wrap your mind around as an adult, much less as a child. There is also violence and the threat of additional violence. Not to mention that the beginning of each chapter has the picture of a hangman's noose around the neck of a toy.
And the cover looks so innocent. Also, for the more protective parent, there's a bit of "minor" cussing. This book sort of reminded me of Neil Gaiman's books - Scary like "Coraline" and touching on hard subjects like "Graveyard Book."
My best suggestion is that as a parent you read this book first before handing it to your child. Older children and teens may get a kick out of it, though.
Plot Summary: Four novellas representing four different genres. Toy Farm is a western unlike any other-a farm that grows living toys and a ranch the grows empty people. Our Lady of Villains is science fiction, looking at how the near future morphs into the faraway future with the help of technology. Wish Police is a police procedural about a team that locks up wishes that can't or shouldn't or won't come true. Doom with a View is a romance, if Death were in charge of the world. So everyone dies in the end but love conquers all.
Critical Analysis: Nayeri has written two previous books with his sister Dina, Another Faust and Another Pan. Both were sort of retellings, or more re imaginings of classic tales and full of action, suspense and dread. With these novellas. Nayeri wanted to do something a little different. He decided to write stories that would appeal to boys and girls. That would introduce readers to different kinds of stories that they didn't realize they would enjoy. According to his author's note, he wrote all of them on his iPhone.
The sampler I have included the story Doom with a View. I have to admit, it did take me a minute to get into the right frame of mind. The mention of The Princess Bride in the note should have been a clue. Nayeri has taken several age old tropes and turned them sideways. Two families feuding but over the interior decorating world? Two children destined to be together but they don't even speak the same language? One beautiful girl who Death takes by mistake is stuck in limbo, not waiting for the kiss of a prince, but for the paperwork and bureaucracy to clear up and return her to her life. So so so funny!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this for book club, and it blew me away. Four inventive novellas, vastly different genres but connecting themes. Read morePublished 19 months ago by J. Harvey
These four collected novellas were originally published as cell-phone novels, and conceived as a bit of a challenge--after the author read an article describing cell-phone novels... Read morePublished on May 30, 2013 by Kara L. Laughlin
This set of novellas is truly something unique to the YA market, perhaps even the entire book world. Read morePublished on February 24, 2013 by Carlyn Greenwald
I loved, absolutely loved this book. But as some reviewers have mentioned, it's not really a kids book. Read morePublished on February 4, 2013 by R. Miller
Daniel Nayeri's collection of four brilliant novellas is like a trip, not just around the world, but to four whole new worlds: a hard-bitten fantasy west where a farmer grows... Read morePublished on May 2, 2012 by Carey Wallace
Straw House- Confusing for a child. Nothing really happens the 1st half of the novella. The concept was interesting but the plot was boring. Read morePublished on January 7, 2012 by R. Wilson
In SHWHBHB, Nayeri proves that he is the writer's equivalent of a singer with a four-octave range. Although the four novellas share a mind-stretching imagination and evidence of... Read morePublished on December 14, 2011 by Carole Dagg
Reason for Reading: I really enjoyed both books in the author's "Another" series and was intrigued by this collection of novellas. Read morePublished on December 1, 2011 by Nicola Mansfield
Daniel Nayeri has got the funny. Shall I sound a little bit inflated when I tell you, gentle reader, that I have an advanced copy of what I am not fearful of presumptively calling... Read morePublished on November 12, 2011 by Lynn