Spell & Spindle

by Michelle Schusterman and Kathrin Honesta

Chance is given a life-sized marionette from the owner of a curiosity shop and discovers... read more

Chance is given a life-sized marionette from the owner of a curiosity shop and discovers he can hear the puppet’s thoughts whenever he touches her strings. Penny has spent years on a shelf watching everything around her, and has hazy memories of a long-ago, different life. After Penny’s strings are cut by a shadowy man who slips into Chance’s bedroom window unseen, Chance uses a spindle he finds, left by the man, to try to reattach them. Instead, he and Penny switch places: He is now in the puppet’s body; Penny is in his. Chance’s older sister, the seemingly always sweet-tempered Constance, realizes Chance is not himself and teams with Penny to find him after the marionette disappears. Constance and Penny (in Chance’s body) stumble into a mystery tied to an evil puppeteer and numerous children who’ve gone missing across decades. An exceptionally satisfying story set in mid–20 th -century New York City offers frissons of excitement and fear and features memorable characters in Chance—a boy both smart and kind; Penny, facing a moral dilemma as she longs to remain human but doesn’t want to sacrifice Chance; and Constance, a girl whose seemingly compliant personality has been a ruse in response to the way girls and young women are seen—and not seen. She is intelligent, courageous, audacious, angry, and determined to get her brother back. (Ages 9–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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