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15 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Charming 30. Mai 2002
Von E. A Solinas - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
The title of "Ogre Downstairs" is somewhat misleading. Initially, readers may think this is a story about an ogre being thwarted by a band of plucky preteens. It is, however, far more interesting than that: a dual story, both of a mismatched stepfamily and of kids having magical adventures.
Caspar, Gwinny and Johnny are all aghast when their mother Sally marries a man named Jack. Jack (continuously called "The Ogre") is callous and resentful of his new wife's children, and he also brings two kids of his own to the stepfamily -- snooty Malcolm and obnoxious Douglas, who are equally miserable about their new stepsiblings.
Life takes a small twist when the Ogre gives the kids two chemistry sets. These are, the three kids find, not ordinary chemistry sets. They contain mysterious, magical (nontoxic) elements that can cause strange occurrances. They allow the kids to float through the air, switch bodies, bring toffee bars and dustballs to life, and become invisible. But things take an unexpected turn, and the five children must learn a little more about the Ogre.
In some ways, this book is reminiscent of Jones' "Fire and Hemlock," where we have both a fantasy adventure and a coming-of-age-story. This one is about kids growing accustomed to their new stepsiblings, and their new stepfather. Though initially it's hard to find any worth in the Ogre, the reader sees eventually that he does have some niceness hidden under his crabby exterior. Malcolm and Douglas are the same; they seem like a pair of obnoxious brats at first, but band together with Caspar, Gwinny and Johnny on their magical adventures. At the same time, we have a charming fantasy story with purring pipes, litters of baby toffee bars, and one memorable scene where Malcolm turns several colors in a row.
The three protagonists are endearingly realistic: Caspar is the most mature of the three, and the one most likely to make good decisions. Gwinny is soft-hearted and a little more humorous, while Johnny is a slightly darker and more intense person. Douglas and Malcolm retain a sort of grudging alliance with the three, and the reader will begin liking them more as the book progresses. The Ogre is well-portrayed, from the POV of three resentful young children; mom Sally is sadly two-dimensional, but this is perhaps the only really weak spot.
A sweet little fantasy story, and one that fans of magic and humor will readily enjoy.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
This would make such a great movie 30. März 2001
Von e clare casey - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
So who says that we can't refer to our stepfathers as ogres? It seems so fitting to the main characters of The Ogre Downstairs, another wonderful story by Mrs. Jones. You see, the Ogre (and his two equally diagreeable sons) has come to live with Casper, Johnny, and Gwinny because their mother decided she was going to marry the guy. In their opinion, he is a jerk. He yells when they play their music too loud or leave their rooms even slightly messy. But when the Ogre gives Johnny a seemingly normal chemistry set as an act of good will (and maybe of kindness) all sorts of unpredictable things begin to happen in their newly fasioned household. How are Johnny and Casper going to explain the inanimate objects that have come alive in their room, or the appealing abilities to fly and dissappear? But maybe, as things around this newly fused family begin to uncoil with every unpredicable and unexplanable chemical concoction, they might figure out a way to finally get along. The Ogre Downstairs is a truely remarkable story. The idea of a magical chemistry set and its many possiblities is a theme throughly embraced by Jones. She conjures up the unimaginable with every mix her characters come up with, and does not leave the reader unsatisfied. I was so impressed with this idea that I still can not believe that this story has not been made into a movie. It would be such a joy to watch.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
One of our family favorites. 21. Januar 2006
Von C. D. Guthrie - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
I first came across this book on a low shelf of my junior high school library, and checked it out three or four times that year. Twenty years and three children of my own later, when I started building our home library, this was one of the first titles I sought out. The only copy I found was an old library copy, but I was glad to see it! It has become a read-aloud favorite with both my daughter, 11, and my older son, 7. What I like most about the book is that on the surface, the story concerns itself with the magical possibilities arising from the wondrous Magicraft chemistry sets... but the foundation, and I believe the real story, is the story of how this blended family becomes a real family. The depiction of the children's personalities feels very solid to me, and stepdad "The Ogre" becomes more of a personality as the book goes on -- rather like he does for protagonist Caspar, as he gets to know the stepfather he despises for the reason that "he's allergic to noise -- and boys." One reviewer calls mom Sally "two-dimensional," and I think I'd agree with that. She doesn't have much of an impact on the storytelling. On the other hand, other characters make decisions based on their relationship with her, so I wouldn't write her off completely. Be aware, young American readers: the story is set in early 70's England and feels somewhat dated in its description of discotheques (ask your parents, or maybe your grandparents... I was in kindergarten when the book was written!) and record players. The family story, however, is what grounds the book, and it is classic: "us" and "them" somehow becomes "just us."

Other Diana Wynne Jones novels often seem to have much darker magic in them than this one. If that's what you enjoy -- if you loved, say, "Fire and Hemlock" (which I enjoyed but which I would NOT read to my kids) you may rather move on to her other books.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Family politics, the secret world of kids = chemistry 14. Mai 1998
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
A newly blended family is having a lot of trouble with the whole "blending" aspect and the stepchildren are arrayed against each other when the dad/stepdad buys a chemistry set for each side of the intrafamily rivalry. This is no ordinary chemistry set. Be prepared for the creation of life, the secret of flight and many other amazing twists as the kids vie with each other and make the rookie mistake of failing to take notes on their experiments. I love everything by DWJ. Her early work is particularly irreverent and truth-telling. This book was screamingly funny and very human. Like so many Jones books, it is hard to find but well worth the search!
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Shame it's out of print 4. Mai 2000
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
The Ogre Downstairs is very funny, highly memorable, realistic about family and school tensions, and is the only book I ever read to my younger sister which made her laugh out loud and demand that I read more (normally she listened only under duress). I liked the animated dustballs best. I think it may be back in print in the UK - worth a look at
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