Synopses & Reviews
In his thirteenth year, Will Sparrow, liar and thief, becomes a runaway. On the road, he encounters a series of con artists—a pickpocket, a tooth puller, a pig trainer, a conjurer—and learns that others are more adept than he at lying and thieving. Then he reluctantly joins a traveling troupe of "oddities," including a dwarf and a cat-faced girl, holding himself apart from the "monsters" and resolving to be on guard against further deceptions. At last Will is forced to understand that appearances are misleading and that he has been his own worst deceiver. The rowdy world of market fairs in Elizabethan England is the colorful backdrop for Newbery medalist Cushman's new comic masterpiece.
"A compelling coming-of-age road trip."
"Set in Elizabethan England, the novel is built upon Cushman's thorough research and solid understanding of the period."
"[Cushman] manages the tricky balance of keeping her characters engaging and understandable for her audience while still making them very much of their time."
"Fascinating, sometimes seemingly preposterous, details are solidly corroborated in the informative author's note that reflects Cushman's extensive research."
—School Library Journal
"Offering action, humor, and heart in equal doses, Cushman's story is, at its core, about creating and claiming a family of one's own."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Lively and amusing . . . . [Cushman's] details have the surprising aptness of an Elizabeth Enright story—or, to step outside children's books, a Raymond Chandler novel."
—The New York Times Book Review
“Karen Cushman is a master of portraying personal transformation. . . . A warmhearted portrait of a boy coming to terms with himself and the world.”
—Historical Novels Society
"As usual, Cushman is adept at bringing the past to vivid life, with evocative details from daily Elizabethan life and authentic, often humorous dialogue."
High jinks and high adventure fill every page of this exciting, panoramic novel set in Shakespeare's time. Widge, a young orphan indentured to a cold, unscrupulous master, has a special talent--the ability to write a secret shorthand. The master is determined to acquire a script of "Hamlet" at any cost, so it becomes Widge's duty to transcribe it--or else!
From Newbery medalist Karen Cushman, the adventures of a lovable rogue and vagabond—a perfect picaresque.
About the Author
Gary Blackwood is a playwright and the author of many books for young readers, including, Curiosity, Mysterious Messages: A history of Codes and Ciphers and Around the World in 100 Days. He is best known for the bestselling Shakespeare Stealer series. He lives in Nova Scotia.