Friday, August 12, 2016

BLOG TOUR, INTERVIEW & REVIEW: Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen


“Such deliciously creepy fun! I fell in love with Dr. Fell! So will urchins and whippersnappers everywhere.” —Chris Grabenstein, author of the New York Times bestsellers Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Libraryand The Island of Dr. Libris

When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the neighborhood kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell.
Only Jerry, Nancy, and Gail are immune to the lure of his extravagant wonderland. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up on the jungle gym, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery.

"Deliciously dark, funny, and foreboding, Neilsen’s first novel delivers with broad appeal." —Booklist

"Recommended for school libraries that need to breathe life into their traditional mystery collections." —School Library Journal

REVIEW BY: Michaela, age 12 years, 1 month


This book was absolutely amazing! It drew me in from the first page and is an adventure to the very end. I didn't want to put it down because it was so good! 

My favorite character is Jerry because he is super duper smart. My favorite part is when Dr. Fell came in to town because he talks funny, dresses funny and acts funny. 

This book is really good. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a good adventure. 

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 13. 

Interview Conducted by:

1. Why did you choose a playground?

I wanted to create a place that would naturally attract children. It just seemed to me that the most obvious attraction would be the world’s greatest playground.

2. Why a doctor?

The character of Dr. Fell came from a print by the late children’s illustrator Trina Schart Hyman which had been hanging on the wall in the home of my wife’s parents for years. The drawing shows a man in a suit and top hat leering down at a little girl, who looks back at him suspiciously. The man has a large basket strapped to his back out of which are sticking various arms, legs, and heads of little children. It’s labelled “Dr. Fell” and Hyman drew it when asked to create an image from her favorite fable or fairy tale. Curious, I looked up Dr. Fell online and discovered the four-line poem written in 1680 which I’ve included at the beginning of my book.

So from the start, the character was Dr. Fell. While his title could have implied a number of different things, I chose to take it literally and have him offer his services as a doctor to the neighborhood. There’s an element of trust we give our doctors, and I liked the idea that my Dr. Fell would take advantage of this trust.

3. Do you like cats? Why or why not?

I love cats! For real! We have two who have agreed to live with us as long as we continue to feed them, scratch their heads from time to time, and clean their litter box. One of them likes to climb onto my lap when I’m trying to write--it’s her way of reminding me that as busy as life gets, there’s always time to stop and pet the kitty.

4. When you were a kid would you have loved to play on Dr. Fell's playground?

As a kid? I’d love to play on his playground now! I am a big fan of playgrounds. A few years ago I led a team to build a new awesome playground for one of our local elementary schools. As I wrote more of the book and the playground continued to develop, I added elements to it that I’d personally find fun and exciting--things I’d always wanted to see on a playground. So in many ways, I designed my own perfect playground.

5. Who is your favorite character in your book?

I would have to say that my favorite character is Dr. Fell himself. I really enjoyed creating him, giving him a history, and developing his distinct pattern of speech. He’s wonderfully evil, but hides his evil beneath a layer of civility. I also loved creating the more mysterious aspects of him and teasing them out piece by piece: for example, the way his shoes seem to creak when he walks, his large crates, the odd images on his walls. He really was a fun character to write.

6. What is your favorite color? Why?

My favorite color is green, mainly because when I see green outside it generally means winter is over, and I’m not a big fan of snow.

7. Any other interesting facts/info about yourself or your book?

I spend every October working as a storyteller and telling spooky stories at places like Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and the NY Botanical Gardens. Also, I have an extremely large collection of Star Wars ships and figures that take up a lot of room in my attic.

We hope you’re enjoying the blog tour for David Neilsen’s Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom! In case you missed yesterday’s post, head over to Seraphina Reads to check it out. The tour continues tomorrow on I'm Shelf-ish.