“Since opening in March 2000 The London Eye has become an iconic landmark and a symbol of modern Britain. The London Eye is the UK’s most popular paid for visitor attraction, visited by over 3.5 million people a year.
A breathtaking feat of design and engineering, passengers in the London Eye’s capsules can see up to 40 kilometres in all directions.
The London Eye is the vision of David Marks and Julia Barfield, a husband and wife architect team. The wheel design was used as a metaphor for the end of the 20th century, and time turning into the new millennium.” From The London Eye official website
When Ted’s cousin Salim disappears while riding in a sealed pod on the London Eye, Ted, whose “brain runs on a different operating system from other people’s”, has eight, or rather nine, theories about what might have happened to his cousin:
1. Salim hid in the pod and went around three or more times, getting out when we’d given up looking.
2. Ted’s watch went wrong. Salim got out of his pod when we weren’t there to meet him.
3. Salim got out of his pod but we missed him somehow by accident and he didn’t see us either.
4. Salim either deliberately avoided us or was suffering from amnesia.
5. Salim spontaneously combusted.
6. Salim emerged from the pod in disguise.
7. Salim went into a time-warp.
8. Salim emerged from the pod hiding beneath somebody else’s clothes.
9. Salim never got on the Eye in the first place.
The trouble is that not one of the theories works; Salim seems to have vanished into thin air, a thing that Salim’s mother Aunt Gloria says is impossible. As the police work to find Salim and the press is called in to publicize the disappearance and everyone works to comfort and reassure Aunt Glo, Ted puts his special brain to work to discover the truth. In the process, Ted doubles his number of friends form three to six and learns to work with his older sister, Kat-astrophe, who provides the energy to match Ted’s brains. And Ted also tells his first three lies of a lifetime. But will it all be enough to find Salim and save his life?
Although the word “autistic” is never used in the book, Ted is obviously a high-functioning, but autistic, child. He is obsessed with weather. He talks incessantly about rain, snow, storms, barometric pressure, fronts, and global warming. He converses and understands conversation in very literal terms, and he has trouble interpreting visual cues, facial expressions, and body language. Sometimes his hand flaps uncontrollably.
The book, told in first person from Ted’s point of view, reminds me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, for kids with a child-size mystery thrown in. Because Salim does disappear, and his parents and relatives imagine the worst, it’s possibly too intense for the younger elementary age group, but it’s just right for mature fourth graders on up. The British slang gets a bit thick at times, but it’s fun to wade though and figure out what the heck these Brits are talking about when they discuss moshers and queues and serviettes. And trying to get into Ted’s brain and think as he does is fascinating.
I have an attraction to books about differently wired brains anyway; if you do, too, you might want to check out the following reviews:
If you or your child has an interest in this subject treated from a fictional point of view, I recommend The London Eye Mystery. Good story, intriguing thought process, kind of like seeing London from the Eye.
Autism Vox is a blog devoted to autism-related news and commentary.
A.S. Kids are Cool is a blog where parents talk about life with Asperger’s Syndrome kids.