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Splendors and Glooms

Cover of Splendors and Glooms

Splendors and Glooms

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Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz brings her sorcery to a Victorian gothic thriller—an enthralling, darkly comic tale that would do Dickens proud. The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini's act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack—adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara's life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. As they seek to puzzle out Clara's whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini's criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini's ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it's too late. Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz's Victorian gothic is a rich banquet of dark comedy, scorching magic, and the brilliant and bewitching storytelling that is her trademark.

Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz brings her sorcery to a Victorian gothic thriller—an enthralling, darkly comic tale that would do Dickens proud. The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini's act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack—adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara's life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. As they seek to puzzle out Clara's whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini's criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini's ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it's too late. Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz's Victorian gothic is a rich banquet of dark comedy, scorching magic, and the brilliant and bewitching storytelling that is her trademark.

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Copies-
  • Available:
    2
  • Library copies:
    2
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.1
  • Lexile:
    670
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Laura Amy Schlitz is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village (illustrated by Robert Byrd), A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama, The Night Fairy (illustrated by Angela Barrett), and other books for children. She lives in Maryland.

Reviews-
  • DOGO Books thumsup - I can say it as seriously and intricately as the plot of this book- I love it. It's so enchanting and beautiful, with some British dialect and spells and labyrinths and puppets. If you get a chance, you should read it. *And I JUST finished it, so you can take word from someone who has been reading for an hour- and- a- half nonstop.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 2, 2012
    Anyone who thinks marionettes are creepy will have that opinion reinforced by this dark tale about three children at the mercy of an unscrupulous puppeteer and the witch who pulls his strings. Clara Wintermute asks her father, a wealthy doctor in 1860 London, to hire Professor Grisini and his Venetian Fantoccini to entertain guests at her 12th birthday party. Clara is stagestruck by the puppets and taken with one of Grisini’s two assistants, the pretty, well-mannered orphan Lizzie Rose (the other assistant, Parsefall, is an urchin straight out of a Dickensian workhouse). After the puppet show, Clara disappears. Grisini is suspected, but he, too, vanishes. The fate of the three children becomes intertwined with Grisini’s old flame, the witch Cassandra Sagredo. It’s a fairly complicated plot, and although the pacing occasionally lags, Newbery Medalist Schlitz (Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!) delivers many pleasures—fully dimensional children, period details so ripe one can nearly smell them, and droll humor that leavens a few scenes of true horror. A highly original tale about children caught in a harrowing world of magic and misdeeds. Ages 9–13. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media.

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    Candlewick Press
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Splendors and Glooms
Splendors and Glooms
Laura Amy Schlitz
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