Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 5
- Reading age: 9 to 12
Commended for the 2009 Best Books for Kids & Teens, long-listed for the 2009 CLA Book of the Year for Children Award
Twelve-year-old Lewis Castorman is a master locksmith: there is no lock on earth that he is unable to open. He is therefore flattered when world-renowned chemist Ernst K. Grumpel invites him to his office in New York City and offers him a lock-picking assignment. His confidence quickly turns to dismay, however, when he learns this job will take him to Yellow Swamp in northern Alberta, the scene of a disastrous chemical spill a year earlier. He is also horrified to discover that Grumpel is utterly ruthless and, through his chemical inventions, can alter the rules of nature at his will. But the assignment is one that Lewis can’t refuse.
How is Grumpel able to create such miraculous transformations? What secrets has he locked away and why has he taken pains to store them in Alberta? Despite the strange discoveries Lewis will make at every turn in his adventures, nothing will prepare him for the final encounter that awaits him in Yellow Swamp.
About the author
Nicholas Maes is a high-school history teacher and also teaches classics at the University of Waterloo. His previous novels for young people are Crescent Star, Locksmith and Laughing Wolf, which was nominated for the Snow Willow Award. Maes is also the author of Robertson Davies: Magician of Words. He lives in Toronto.
- Commended, Best Books for Kids & Teens
- Long-listed, CLA Book of the Year for Children Award
Maes makes sure the fate of each character is accounted for as the story concludes but leaves the reader hoping for a sequel. A highly recommended read for all ages!
LocksmithTwelve-year-old Lewis is a master locksmith and he’s flattered when worldrenowned chemist Ernst K. Grumpel invites him to his office in New York City for a lock-picking assignment. But his confidence quickly fades when Grumpel’s true nature is revealed.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2009.
Other titles by Nicholas Maes
Canadian Scholars Bundle
Lucille Teasdale / Robertson Davies / George Grant / Marshall McLuhan
Canadian Literary Bundle
Susanna Moodie / Gabrielle Roy / Robertson Davies / Mazo de la Roche
Quest Biographies Bundle — Books 21–30
Louis Riel / James Wilson Morrice / Vilhjalmur Stefansson / Robertson Davies / James Douglas / William C. Van Horne / George Simpson / Tom Thomson / Simon Girty / Mary Pickford
Quest Biographies Bundle — Books 21–25
Louis Riel / James Wilson Morrice / Vilhjalmur Stefansson / Robertson Davies / James Douglas
Felix Taylor Adventures 2-Book Bundle
Laughing Wolf / Fortuna
A Felix Taylor Adventure
Locksmith Teachers' Guide
Dundurn Teachers' Guide