Mould, C. (2007). Something Wickedly Weird: The Wooden Mile. New York: Roaring Brook Press.
Stanley, as the youngest living relative of his great-uncle, inherits the deceased man’s hall and all of the wackiness of the people who live in the town of Compton Rock. Stanley leaves home without his busy parents to take possession of the immense Candlestick Hall and is greeted by unusual characters and strange rules, one of which is “don’t go out after dark.”
The story includes a lot of humorous and quirky characters, including a talking fish, a mean candy-seller, and three disgruntled pirates. The pirates insist Stanley help them end the reign of a local werewolf, but Stanley soon learns that the pirates have more planned for him than that.
In terms of the writing, humor and illustrations, The Wooden Mile feels and looks a lot like A Series of Unfortunate Events, but with slightly fewer vocabulary demands. With illustrations included on every few pages, the book is a pretty fast read, building a young reader’s confidence (or providing an advanced reader with a fun break).
This book is, of course, the first in a growing series. Cause a novel can’t stand alone anymore. Ever.
Activities to do with the book:
This is a book that is probably best to be read for enjoyment. Although the series could lend itself to comparison with similarly themed books (such as A Series of Unfortunate Events) if a teacher really want to provoke a conversation. At the very least, Something Wickedly Weird could be a book recommendation for students who have finished all 13 of the Series of Unfortunate Events.
“This is not the very start of the story. It is simply a convenient place to begin. And you should be warned that when you delve into what has already happened and what lies ahead, you will find this a dark and twisted tale” (pp. 7-8).
“I always sleep well,” announced Stanley. “It’s the thing I do best” (p. 45).
“He couldn’t help thinking how ridiculous it seemed. Three vicious pirates, all wanting to get rid of one man—yet they needed the help of an eleven-year-old boy!” (p. 89).