Splendors and Glooms

by Laura Amy Schlitz

A meaty, intricately plotted gothic novel about two orphans, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall,... read more

A meaty, intricately plotted gothic novel about two orphans, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, who are apprenticed to a gifted puppeteer named Grisini. Grisini is also an evil magician, and after the trio gives a private performance at the birthday party of a lonely rich girl named Clara Wintermute, Clara disappears. Not long after, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall discover Grisini has a new puppet and recognize it as the missing girl. Meanwhile, in northern England, a dying witch is in agony due to a powerful stone in her possession—her only relief will come if a child steals the stone. The witch has chosen the apprentices of her long-time adversary Grisini as the most likely thieves. Laura Amy Schlitz’s ominous tale unfolds from multiple points of view—the three children, the magician, and the witch—so that only readers see all the pieces of the puzzle, but finding out just how all those pieces fit together will keep them turning pages. Schlitz builds tension as her characters—especially the three children who’ve been dealt such different fates and who each own a different kind of sadness—face the challenge of temptations and the dangers of deceit. A story that starts out deliciously sinister draws to a perfect—and perfectly happy—conclusion. (Ages 8–11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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