Warning: Contains Spoilers!
The far side of the bed was empty.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: I love how we’re now just running with the idea that there’s an evil animate teddy bear out to get Neil’s kid brother. It should be ridiculous, and it kind of is, but that’s half the fun as far as I’m concerned. Why shouldn’t Neil go storming into the shadowy fastness of the museum to rescue Josh from what he imagines to be the nefarious clutches of Ted? What better way to open the box of nightmarish delight that is the rest of this book, if not with one small, pyajma-ed boy out to rescue another in the dead of night?
As for Miss Celandine, her pride in her knitting is rather endearing, even if her implements are somewhat threatening when raised toward Neil’s unsuspecting head in a darkened room. We have to wonder about the ‘One’ she continually references, and what use that absent girl might have for a square of green, tinselled wool, into which is clearly woven Miss Celandine’s lifetime of heartache. Her little dancing scene is particularly sad – as the Mother third of the Webster trio, there was evidently a time when she lived for the promise of a family and children. Instead, as Neil observes, she has found herself husbandless and childless, imprisoned in the Wyrd Museum with her sisters, slowly going senile. Perhaps that square of sparkling wool is her only way out.
Matt’s Thoughts: As well as triggering a spooky expedition into the Museum at night-time – which was always on the cards – there’s a great deal of personal angst in this chapter, isn’t there?
There’s the unspoken frustration of Neil against his father, his father’s irritation with Neil (and probably himself), the care that Neil has for Josh. I have no doubt that there are families where kids like Neil do have to be more mature than their years to cope with the shortfalls of their parents, and it all reads authentically.
But then we also see that there’s pain going on for Miss Celandine (although her backstory is a lot more shadowy). Clearly, the weaving of the loom is significant and most likely tied to the arrival of the boys, but to what degree?
I know at some stage there will be a character who will explain all this, but I’m actually enjoying the mysteriousness of it all at the moment. Besides which, Josh is lost. That’s worrying enough.
Finally, I loved the throwaway scene with Josh and the petals that end up in the shape of a tree. (Did he put them there? Did they just fall that way and he noticed the shape? Either way, it’s a great image.)