HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Elevator Family
Author: Douglas Evans
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
Publisher: Yearling, republished 2001
ISBN-13: 978-0385327237 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0385327234 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0440416500 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0440416500 Paperback
Related website(s): http://www.scholastic.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8 – 12
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Evans, Douglas. The Elevator Family (Published in 2000 by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House Inc., 1745 Broadway, 11th Floor, New York City, NY 10019; republished in 2004 by Scholastic Inc., 557 Broadway, New York City, NY 10012). The Wilson family consists of father Walter, mother Winona, and ten year old twin brother Winslow and sister Whitney. When they arrive at the San Francisco Hotel and discover that there are no available rooms, they decide to stay in the place that suits them best of all. It’s a cozy little room that has its ups and downs—a room called Otis, the hotel elevator. While there, they get to meet the shy, lovesick teenage bellhop Gavin; the hotel flower girl Cathy who is the object of Gavin’s unspoken affections; Mr. Brown, a weary traveling salesman of kids’ fads; a British rock group with the funny name of “What?”; Mrs. Goldengate, a busy society lady with a pampered poodle named Oui-Oui; and a slew of other surprising visitors.
For the Wilsons, only the best will do, so staying in the elevator is absolutely “fantabulous!” But how do they handle the grouchy clerk Mrs. Quinn? What kind of reaction do they get from other guests who want to use the elevator? And is there anything that they can do to help find the kidnapped daughter of billionaire newspaper publisher Frank Chronicle? There are a few references to drinking wine. However, this is a lighthearted and heartwarming fantasy story filled with adventure and wry, zany humor about an eccentric family that will keep middle-grade children groaning with glee. Most reviewers used words like “cute” and “funny” to describe the book.
However, one reader definitely did NOT like it, writing, “Wow what a bad book! Im serious this book was the stupidest thing I’ve ever put my hands on” (sic). I beg to differ. It is not stupid. Admittedly, it is silly, but that is not the same thing as stupid. Silly is not necessarily bad and can be quite humorous, while stupid is usually rather annoying. Another person summed it up well, saying, “It’s a cute story with its share of humor, but there is nothing special about it.” The quirky style is like a clever tall tale. Furthermore, the short chapters make it great for beginning or reluctant readers. There are four Elevator Family sequels, including The Elevator Family Hits the Road and The Elevator Family Takes a Hike.