Hannah is a soft-hearted, strong-willed girl from the tenements, who supports her family as a hotel maid when tragedy strikes and her father can no longer work. She learns about a hidden treasure, which she knows will save her family -- if she can find it.
Review: Clockwork Three is an ambitious middle grade debut that weaves together a good amount of reliably alluring elements such as suspense, historical facts, and some action. Initially we are introduced to three separate story lines which feature a child in a sort of Victorian-era-ish New York City. Giuseppe plays the fiddle on street corners for spare change, hoping to have enough left over after paying his wicked padrone for a ticket back to Italy; Hannah works as a hotel maid where she learns of a hidden treasure that may save her ailing father; and Frederick, an apprentice clockmaker, figures that the automaton he is crafting in secret will allow him to become a journeyman.
The trio of strands work nicely individually as we get time to spend with each of the characters and learn their plight for freedom and happiness, however, the story begins to drag when all three stories come together in a predictable plot. Kirby wastes several pages to spell things out too bluntly and there are several plot events that happen too conveniently to wrap everything in the end in a nice bow. Though I enjoyed the detailed attention to the time period, I was disappointed to not see more clockwork elements than what is on the surface. Though Clockwork Three takes time to get started, I would recommend this book to younger readers who like fantasy-light books that contain a mystery.
Rating: 3 stars
Words of Caution: There are scenes of suggested violence. Recommended for Grades 5 and up.
If you like this book try: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick