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The Ogre Downstairs

Written by Diana Wynne Jones

Fantasy / Magical Featured Books for 7+ readers Recommended Children's eBooks

LoveReading View on The Ogre Downstairs

Jonathan Stroud, November 2010 Guest Editor, celebrates a favourite children's author: "A generation before the arrival of a certain boy wizard, Diana Wynne Jones had already perfected the art of comic fantasies: stories in which ordinary children must contend with sudden incursions of magic into their everyday world. The Ogre Downstairs is one of her greatest books and blew me away when I first read it, aged about 10. Three children, Casper, Johnny and Gwinny, live miserably with their mother, their new stepfather (the ‘ogre’) and their two stepbrothers. One day the ogre brings home two strange chemistry sets as gifts for the warring siblings – and it isn’t long before magical chaos erupts. The brilliance of the book lies in the way it mixes the family’s very ordinary domestic problems with the anarchy of magic. Some of the set-pieces are extraordinary: no one who’s read about the plague of living toffee bars is ever likely to forget it!"

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The Ogre Downstairs Synopsis

Diana Wynne Jones at her finest -- family feuds and chaos, magic with hilarious results and some of the most original ideas ever to appear between the covers of a book. Casper, Johnny and Gwinny get a big shock when their mother marries the Ogre. The Ogre is large and stern and not at all interested in children, although this doesn't prevent him from adding his own two awful sons, Douglas and Malcolm, to the family mix. Now the five children and two adults are squashed under the same roof, which can lead to only one thing -- war! Then the Ogre brings home the Chemistry Sets -- one for Malcolm and one for Johnny. Not that Johnny is impressed by this very obvious bribe. At least, not until they accidentally discover the flying lotion. Then the real fun begins!

The Ogre Downstairs Press Reviews

Praise for Diana Wynne Jones '[Wynne Jones] has a unique record of producing books you can't forget! Every book is different. And every book is likely to be in someone's top seven! I feel we need to acknowledge how lucky those of us are who grew up on her books, and to ensure subsequent generations enjoy the same intense and subtle pleasure.
The Guardian

!Her hallmarks include laugh-aloud humour, plenty of magic and imaginative array of alternate worlds. Yet, at the same time, a great seriousness is present in all of her novels, a sense of urgency that links Jones's most outrageous plots to her readers
hopes and fears

! Publishers Weekly Truly magical -- guaranteed to leave you gasping -- even hotter than Potter The Bookseller Diana Wynne Jones could teach Stephen King and JK Rowling a thing or two ! [she] has a skill for inserting just the right amount of detail in her written words, leaving you satiated but not stuffed. SFX

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780007154692
Publication date: 01/12/2003
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780007154692
Publication date: 1st December 2003
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 256 pages
Suitable for: 7+ readers
Genres: Fantasy / Magical
Recommendations: eBooks

About Diana Wynne Jones

Reknowned children's science fiction and fantasy writer Diana Wynne Jones died in March 2011. Click here to read about the life of this author in The Guardian obituary. Diana was born in August 1934 in London, where she had a chaotic and unsettled childhood against the background of World War II. The family moved around a lot, finally settling in rural Essex. As children, Diana and her two sisters were deprived of a good, steady supply of books by a father, 'who could beat Scrooge in a meanness contest'. So, armed with a vivid imagination and an insatiable quest for good books ...

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