The Elevator Family Delacorte Press Spring 2000 $14.95 ISBN 0-385-32723-4 Reprinted: Yearling 2001 PHP Japan 2nd Edition 2011/ Bayard France 2002/ Scholastic Book Clubs
The Elevator Family: Drop in on the lovable and eccentric Wilson family for an elevator ride filled with adventure and zany humor. For the Wilson family, only the best will do! So when they arrive at the San Francisco Hotel and discover that there are no available rooms, they decide to stay in the place that suits them best of all: a room that has its ups . . . and its downs--a room called Otis. The Wilsons check in to the hotel elevator! For three whole days, Mr. Walter Wilson, Mrs. Winona Wilson, 10-year-old Winslow Wilson, and his twin sister, Whitney Wilson, ride to all the floors, happily greeting startled guests who happen to drop in. There’s a weary traveling salesman of kids’ fads; a British rock group with a funny name; a lovesick bellhop; a society lady and her pampered poodle; and a slew of other surprising visitors. These “fantabulous” guests make the Wilsons’ stay unforgettable, but it’s the zany but compassionate Wilsons who’ll be remembered long after they check out of Otis.
2003 Connecticut Nutmeg Children's Book Award 2003 Massachusetts Children's Book Award 2003 Garden State Children's Book Awards 2004 South Dakota Prairie Bud Award 2004 Virginia State Young Reader's Award 2003 Sunshine State Young Readers Award
Reviews: From Children’s Literature - Life for the Wilsons certainly has its ups and downs because the family has taken up short-term residence in a hotel elevator. The elevator “room” is the only way the family can salvage their vacation when their hotel accommodations fall through. The elevator named--what else--Otis, seems to have the capacity of one of those circus clown cars. How else could the Wilsons greet hotel guests, dine in style, play parlor games, and even host a lavish party in their ultra-cozy moveable home-away-from-home? Such close quarters would seem to limit to the number of plotlines that author Evans could explore, but the Wilsons seem to make the acquaintance of at least half of San Francisco in their mini-suite, including a lovelorn bellhop and a British rock group called “What.” When a tiny heiress, is kidnapped, the Wilsons figure out that she is being held in the hotel and manage to foil the crime. Evans gets much more mileage than you can imagine out of the claustrophobic premise of a family of four living in a lift. Middle readers, especially, will find this book to be an amusing confection loaded with puns related to vertical travel. 2000, Delacorte Press, Ages 8 to 12, $14.95. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
From Kirkus Reviews: An endearingly eccentric family settles into the elevator and hearts of the patrons and employees at the San Francisco Hotel in this over-the-top tale from Evans. No room at the inn is no problem for the intrepid Wilsons; Mr. and Mrs. and their twin ten-year-olds, Winslow and Whitney, simply set up camp in the hotel’s elevator. From their mobile abode, they cheerfully offer advice and hospitality to everyone who “visits” their room. The gregarious Wilsons are true humanitarians, helping out their fellow travelers; providing insights into the opposite sex for a lovelorn teenager; and offering companionship for a lonely salesman. They are delightfully insouciant about their unusual accommodations, and Evans’s campy humor will have readers groaning with glee. When questioned about life in an elevator, the twins reply, “It had its ups. . . . And downs.” Evans works out the intricacies of life on board an elevator with aplomb, neatly making the implausible seem possible. Throughout their adventures, the Wilsons maintain their affability. Even the ungrateful attitude of the kidnapped heiress they rescue fails to quell the good nature or good will of the irrepressible Wilsons. Brief chapters loaded with wry humor keep readers’ interest high and are a great draw for reluctant ones. A wacky, warm-hearted tale. (Fiction. 8-12)
Author Comment: To write this book I rode the elevators of the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco up and down many times. I hope to take the Wilson family on other adventures. Where could they stay next? A tollbooth on a bridge? A display window of a department store? A coat closet in a classroom? Only the best!