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Publisher's Summary

Anyone with a Hogwarts-shaped hole in their lives can't miss this fantasy series opener. Dive into a secret underground city below London where ordinary objects are capable of extraordinary magic! 

"Part Tim Burton, part J.K. Rowling! A terrific debut." (Soman Chainani, New York Times best-selling author of the School for Good and Evil series)    

Welcome to a world where nothing is quite as it seems.... 

When their grandmother Sylvie is rushed to the hospital, Ivy Sparrow and her annoying big brother Seb cannot imagine what adventure lies in store. Soon their house is ransacked by unknown intruders, and a very strange policeman turns up on the scene, determined to apprehend them with a toilet brush. 

Ivy and Seb make their escape only to find themselves in a completely uncommon world, a secret underground city called Lundinor where ordinary objects have amazing powers. There are belts that enable the wearer to fly, yo-yos that turn into weapons, buttons with healing properties, and other enchanted objects capable of very unusual feats. 

But the forces of evil are closing in fast, and when Ivy and Seb learn that their family is connected to one of the greatest uncommon treasures of all time, they must race to unearth the treasure and get to the bottom of a family secret before it's too late. 

Debut novelist Jennifer Bell delivers a world of wonder and whimsy in the start of a richly uncommon series.  

"An auspicious trilogy opener." (Kirkus Reviews

©2017 Jennifer Bell (P)2017 Listening Library

What listeners say about The Crooked Sixpence

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it - Entwistle is the perfect narrator

The audiobook is read by Jayne Entwhistle and she's such a delight.

Before reading, I read some very ranty reviews comparing this book to Harry Potter and shouting about knock offs and stolen ideas, and y'all, I am just not seeing it. As I listened, I tried hard to pay attention to any Potteresque similarities, and I just couldn't find any. This isn't a magic school story and the world felt very original and inventive to me!

In this story, there is a secret part of London called Lundinor. It's underground and it's a giant, hidden market where magical people come together to negotiate various trades. There are very funny "uncommon" uses of every day objects: toilet brushes (the police force carry them!), bells (they can talk!), black feathers (they write messages in the air), candles (can make you invisible), and suitcases (climb into and emerge in a far away place). The idea behind "uncommoners" (magical people) and their uncommon objects was such a wonderful idea, I wish I'd thought of it myself!

Our heroine is Ivy Sparrows, age 11, and her older brother, Seb. Their parents aren't dead (wonders never cease!) but they work a lot and are often out of town. As the story starts, Ivy and Seb are being cared for by their grandmother, but she'd had a fall and they travel with her to the hospital. Grandma has a mysterious case of amnesia and can't remember most of her childhood. She has a few keepsakes from the time before, one of which is a gold bracelet. The bracelet has to be cut off for medical purposes and this sets off the events of the novel.

Ivy and her brother don't get along particularly well, but love each other deep down. It's fun to watch them grow closer and learn to respect one another as the story progresses. I loved the rest of the characters, too. Everyone felt very well rounded & developed. Scratch is my favorite, especially the way Entwhistle narrated his backward speaking mannerisms. So cute.

Some fun twists and exciting lead ins to the next book which I already have queued up and ready to go.

5 people found this helpful

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great story!

I will listen to any book that Jayne Entwistle reads. I love her voice and how animated she can get. very good story with lots of twists and turns

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Hmm... If You Haven't Read Harry Potter?--

--this might be a good book, especially for younger listeners. It has short chapters with whiz-bang, ominous cliff-hanger endings that would be good for the younguns to ask, "What next?"
If, however, you, as I was, are looking for an entry into an entirely different world that leaves your imagination singing, well, this might be rather a disappointment. It seems "odd" just for the sake of oddness. Common objects have "Uncommon" uses... and that's about as far as it goes.
There are Invisibility Candles that make you invisible (Invisibility cloaks, anyone?); feather pens that leave threatening messages (Howlers?); Common people are called Muckers (Muggles?); Uncommon people wear "hobsmatch" which is a mishmash of Common clothing (wizards at a muggle campground at the Quidditch World Cup?); and a multitude of other things that'll have you scratching your head because they're soooo familiar.
As far as the story: Grandma Sylvie is a mystery. An accident in the distant past caused amnesia. But there are secrets within that mystery that have Ivy and her older brother Seb racing the future-telling clock (prophecy globe?) through mansions with many doors, battling wolves that talk (werewolves?), wraith moths, and leaning on newfound friends for help in the Uncommon world. It's a decent enough story, esp. with the addition that people of the uncommon world wear gloves that store every single transaction, every move, the wearer has made. Nice Big Brother touch.
Jayne Entwistle turns in a good performance, but she's lacking the enthusiasm, the energy, the verve she had when she narrated "The War That Saved My Life."
There are Trading Seasons, unlike school years at Hogwarts, that Ivy and Seb are promised to come back for, so get ready for a series. But don't get ready for breathless sweeps of imagination. Your kids might like this; you might be annoyed at worst, smiling mildly at best...

10 people found this helpful

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Innovative and entertaining

I hesitated about getting this one because of the claims of it being a knock off Harry Potter. I am glad I ignored it and was delighted by the story. In some ways, it is more like Coraline, in that there is a hidden world.

This was a fun story and I will be reading the next one soon. Enjoy!

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting and unique

I had a little bit of a hard time getting into the story. It moves kinda slowly but the overall story and idea is really interesting. And once the story got moving, I enjoyed it. It is only really like Harry Potter in the sense that a young child finds out about an unknown "magic" world and is thrown in the middle of an evil plan. Everything else about the story is unique.

1 person found this helpful

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intrigue and mystery topped with whimsical fantasy

A delightful tale of uncommon family secrets, dark forces, and a world full of fantasy.

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A fun and engaging story

Well written. Well read. I didn't give 5 stars only because of the speed of the reader, not anything bad but a funny hesitation to the rhythm. An intriguing story with the possibility of many more to come.

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Fun storyline

I really enjoyed this book. It is a plot that I have no heard yet and used creative and relatable twists and turns to make me guessing. It is a book that I now have in my fifth grade classroom library and have watched students truly enjoy reading it!

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It reminds me of Harry Potter.

I loved it so much! It was one of my favorite books that I've ever read.

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Simple children's adventure story, great narrator

This is the story of 11-year old Ivy who with her 14-year-old brother Seb find themselves pulled into an Underground world of Uncommon Things in a non-stop adventure to save their family and also prevent the most powerful Uncommon Things from falling into the wrong hands, making a good friend Valian on the way.
What I liked:
*Ivy is a winning protagonist--tender-hearted yet strong, clever yet pure-hearted
*Jayne Entwistle has a wonderfully sweet yet sassy voice and narrates well, bringing the feeling out of various contexts and characters
*The pacing is fairly good in the adventure
*The premise is lovely: everyday object that are able to do uncommon things: carpets that fly, lemon juicers that give light, strainers that filter air; perfect to encourage kids' imaginary play in which an everyday object can become anything!
What I didn't like:
*There wasn't anything I particularly did not like, but this is definitely written for a younger person, probably ages 8-12. I also like my children's stories to have more humor and while this had some amusing back-and-forth dialogue, no LOL moments for me.