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Olivia Kidney And The Secret Beneath The City [Hardcover]

Ellen Potter

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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—In Olivia Kidney's third adventure, she is reluctantly starting seventh grade at the Malcolm Flavius School for the Arts, where all the children are talented. Olivia suspects that she is not, but luckily there is plenty going on outside of school to distract her—a trip into New York City's ancient and haunted subway system; the impetuous, old Princepessa Christina Lilli, whose impending marriage to ex-cave-dweller Arthur Vondychomps is throwing everyone into turmoil; eccentric Ansel Plover, who runs the Exit Academy for newly departed souls in which Olivia and her father live; and so on. The characters are zany and over-the-top, but Olivia has enough realistic concerns—her inadequate, mostly absent mom and a confusing relationship with a boy named Ruben—to give a solid base to all the wacky events. With so much happening, there are a few loose ends and intriguing but abandoned characters, but Olivia's fans will dive right into the story and won't emerge until the last page.—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The third book in the series finds 12-year-old Olivia Kidney in several strange places. One is her new arts school. Her father has insisted she enroll, but Olivia seriously doubts her artistic talent. She and Mr. Kidney, a chef, are also still living in an Upper West Side brownstone that features a flooded first floor, suitable for boating, and doubles as an exit point for ghosts that Olivia, who straddles both worlds, can see and talk to. The ghosts include her older brother, who is delighted when their mother comes back to New York from California. Olivia, not so much. Then there's the not-so-small matter of her tiny friend, Frannie, who is willing to go to any lengths to grow. As in the previous book, this tilts from the surreal to the silly, but it's all done with panache. Fans will be pleased that there seems to be no end in sight to Olivia's bizarre adventures. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Ellen Potter. Like my character, Olivia Kidney, I grew up in a high-rise apartment building in New York City's Upper West Side. In fact, the idea for Olivia Kidney came from a game I used to play when I was about eight or nine years old. I would watch people in the building's elevator (most of whom I knew nothing about) and make up crazy stories about their apartments. There was one woman, for instance, who was sort of chubby and always cheerful, so I imagined that she lived in an apartment made entirely of chocolate! I imagined that her walls were made of chocolate, so she could lick them, and her furniture was chocolate, and she had a chocolate refrigerator that only contained chocolate eggs and chocolate milk. And if she got hungry in the middle of the night, she could nibble on her bed.

I remember the exact moment when I knew, without a doubt, that I wanted to be a writer. I was eleven years old and I was in my school library, strolling through the aisles, trying to decide what to read next. Should it be A Wrinkle in Time? Or maybe Harriet the Spy. In a flash, I decided that the best books in the world were written for eleven-year-olds! Sadly, my twelfth birthday was just around the corner. So I reasoned that the only thing to do was to grow up and write books for eleven-year-olds. Which is pretty much what happened (after many years and piles of rejections letters).

I studied creative writing at Binghamton University. After graduating I worked many different jobs while I continued to write. I was a dog groomer, a construction worker, an art teacher, and a waitress. Having lots of different jobs is a terrific advantage for a writer. Because of them, I know all kinds of oddball things, which I've used in my books, like how to remove bubble gum from a dog's fur (peanut butter). In fact, it was while I was addressing envelopes during a boring stint as a receptionist that a name caught my eye: Olivia Kidney. What a great name, I thought! I jotted it down in my journal. Years later, while thumbing through my old journals, I spotted the name and decided it was perfect for the feisty twelve-year-old heroine of my first children's book.

These days, my husband and I live in upstate New York with our new baby boy and a motley assortment of badly behaved animals.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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