The Hole in the Wall
I don’t generally read a lot of children’s literature, but I’m glad I stepped outside my normal routine and read The Hole in the Wall. Sebby and his sister Barbie live in a town that is practically deserted after Stanley Odum starts buying up the land to mine it. Their parents are constantly fighting, their older brother ran off a while back, and they’re pretty much opposites even though they’re twins. Barbie is smart and hardworking, while Sebby spends most of his time daydreaming. When a strange substance starts affecting the family’s chickens, Sebby and Barbie find out that it has some interesting (read: magical) qualities.
It’s all very fantastical and you can’t really take it seriously, but it is children’s lit after all, so that’s to be expected. It also isn’t the most well written book I’ve ever read, but it was good enough to have me interested and invested in the characters within a few chapters.
Even though Sebby is the main character, it’s Barbie who I instantly loved. She has a bit of a bossy, know-it-all attitude, similar to Hermione in the Harry Potter series, but it’s more endearing than it is annoying. You also get the sense that she respects her twin brother, despite her attitude and his carefree ways. Their relationship is at the core of the story, so it’s hard not to get attached to them at least a little.
Another thing I really liked was how their mother handles her relationship with their father. At first, it seems that she is putting up with at a lot for no apparent reason, and I was disappointed at how straightforward it seemed. But as the book goes on, her character is developed more fully. Her strength and the reasons behind her decisions starts to become clearer, and she went from being my least favorite to most favorite character by the end.
The ending was a bit disappointing in that it felt somewhat incomplete, but I can honestly say that if all children’s lit is this delightful, I’ll probably be picking up another one in no time at all.