I have a lot of childhood favorites, I read a lot. I can't remember when exactly I came down with the Bellairs-bug, but I know that he was one of those authors that I fanatically chased down as much as I could. The school and the public librarian always put me down first in line for new books of his to come in.
This isn't the original Edward Gorey cover, but this is the one that I think of when I think of this book. It's just so spooky: the shadowed outline of the house, the twisted trees against a swirling evening sky and of course the staring green face. Lewis looks like he's balding, but that's ok.
It's a shame that there are only three Lewis Barnevelt books(I can't bring myself to 'count' the Strickland additions to the series, even if the first three were completions of existing manuscripts/notes) because Lewis is Bellairs' most believable character. Lewis is awkward, fallible and lonely. The desperate lengths he goes to, the promises and pleading, to keep a kid who he shouldn't want to be friends with, all ring true. He's someone who really needs magic. It was the frightening adventure that Lewis sets off that hooked me as a kid, as an adult its Lewis himself that makes this a great book.
Lewis & Rose Rita
Next: 'The Figure in the Shadows'