Cover image for The rope trick
The rope trick
Alexander, Lloyd.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
195 pages ; 22 cm
Motivated by her quest to learn a legendary rope trick, the magician Princess Lidi and her troupe embark on a journey through Renaissance Italy that intertwines adventure, love, and mystery.
Reading Level:
500 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.9 6.0 62573.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.1 11 Quiz: 32612 Guided reading level: W.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



It's magic! The great American storyteller Lloyd Alexander conjures an engrossing tale of a bewitching magician. Lidi is not only beautiful-she has the talent to perform the greatest magic feat imaginable-the rope trick. But she must find the one master who can teach her how.

On her quest to find master magician Ferramondo, she meets some traveling companions who all help on the journey: a child with true supernatural powers, a handsome outlaw with a price on his head, a successful entrepreneur who wants her in his troupe. But when the child is kidnapped, Lidi must abandon the search and summon her own powers to save the girl. The thrilling conclusion is Alexander at the top of his form in a remarkable fantasy that is both light and dark, funny and serious, believable and mystical. As always with an Alexander novel, the real magician is the storyteller himself.

Author Notes

Lloyd Alexander, January 30, 1924 - May 17, 2007 Born Lloyd Chudley Alexander on January 30, 1924, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Allan Audley and Edna Chudley Alexander, Lloyd knew from a young age that he wanted to write. He was reading by the time he was 3, and though he did poorly in school, at the age of fifteen, he announced that he wanted to become a writer. At the age of 19 in 1942, Alexander dropped out of the West Chester State Teachers College in Pennsylvania after only one term. In 1943, he attended Lafayette College in Easton, PA, before dropping out again and joining the United States Army during World War II. Alexander served in the Intelligence Department, stationed in Wales, and then went on to Counter-Intelligence in Paris, where he was promoted to Staff Sergeant. When the war ended in '45, Alexander applied to the Sorbonne, but returned to the States in '46, now married.

Alexander worked as an unpublished writer for seven years, accepting positions such as cartoonist, advertising copywriter, layout artist, and associate editor for a small magazine. Directly after the war, he had translated works for such artists as Jean Paul Sartre. In 1955, "And Let the Credit Go" was published, Alexander's first book which led to 10 years of writing for an adult audience. He wrote his first children's book in 1963, entitled "Time Cat," which led to a long career of writing for children and young adults.

Alexander is best known for his "Prydain Chronicles" which consist of "The Book of Three" in 1964, "The Black Cauldron" in 1965 which was a Newbery Honor Book, as well as an animated motion picture by Disney which appeared in 1985, "The Castle of Llyr" in 1966, "Taran Wanderer" in 1967, a School Library Journal's Best Book of the Year and "The High King" which won the Newberry Award. Many of his other books have also received awards, such as "The Fortune Tellers," which was a Boston Globe Horn Book Award winner. In 1986, Alexander won the Regina Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the Catholic Library Association. His titles have been translated into many languages including, Dutch, Spanish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Serbo-Croation and Swedish.

He died on May 17, 2007.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-7. Although Lidi is already an accomplished magician, she is convinced her craft will not be complete until she masters the celebrated rope trick. To do this, however, she must first locate the elusive and legendary Ferramondo, the only one who knows how the trick is performed. Her quixotic quest brings her into the company of an assortment of characters, including a handsome fugitive, a supernaturally gifted waif, and a troupe of performing pigs. With one foot firmly planted in fantasy and the other in historical romance, Alexander is on familiar ground here, though his tone is a bit darker than usual. Alas, his cast, with the possible exception of Lidi, is unexceptional this time around, and Alexander's failure to resolve a number of plot points suggests a sequel (though there's no indication that one is in the offing). Nevertheless, Alexander couldn't write a totally dull book if his life depended on it, and this one has enough mystifications, surprises, and suspense to satisfy his legions of fans. --Michael Cart

Publisher's Weekly Review

Magician Lidi recruits an orphan and an outcast as she seeks out the great Ferramondo to learn the one magic trick she is unable to do. PW said, "Even as the outsize characterizations and rollicking adventure amuse, the compassionate vision of life's possibilities is likely to bring a lump to the throat." Ages 10-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-7-Ever a wizard with words, Alexander imbues this tale of a young magician on a quest with whiffs of mystery-though he concludes with an abrupt bit of literary legerdemain that reads as if he ran out of steam. Impelled by the failures of her father, copper-tressed Lidi is determined to become the greatest of magicians, which means tracking down elusive master magician, Ferramondo, and persuading him to part with the secret of his fabled Rope Trick. The search takes Lidi, along with her hulking, fatherly roustabout Jericho; Daniella, a small child who seems to have a real ability to foretell the future; and Julian, a fugitive cafone (tenant farmer), wandering through several provinces of Italy, er, "Campania," before falling afoul of a ruthless moneylender, Scabbia. The author relates his tale economically (a blessing in these days of doorstopper fantasies), using short but telling sentences, keeping the cast's size relatively small, and drawing readers into his characters with deft hints of their thoughts and mental states. Without warning, Scabbia's minions swoop down to capture the quartet, burning their wagons and possessions, but they escape brutal fates by climbing a suddenly stiff rope that whirls them off to a happily ever after land where Ferramondo waits for them with promises of signs and wonders. Several seemingly miraculous transformations in the story's course seem to point toward further adventures, but it's hard to see what they might be after this summary resolution. Still, even a patchy tale from this master storyteller makes the general run of historical fantasy look clumsy.-John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 Zaccovelli's Nosep. 3
2 Sometimes Daniellap. 11
3 Princess Lidip. 19
4 In Campaniap. 24
5 The Added Attractionp. 33
6 Julianp. 41
7 The First-of-Mayp. 49
8 The Cafonep. 56
9 The Baboonp. 62
10 The Huntedp. 69
11 The Vanishing Coinp. 75
12 Pompadoro's Performing Porkersp. 83
13 Pompadoro's Travelsp. 91
14 Two Roads Meetp. 99
15 The Condemned Prisonerp. 106
16 Two Roads Partp. 113
17 The Magicians' Burghettop. 122
18 Mercuriop. 128
19 Cocofinop. 134
20 Fame and Fortunep. 139
21 The Condottierip. 146
22 A Lost Pursep. 157
23 Malventop. 165
24 The Marchesep. 176
25 Silencep. 183
26 The Rope Trickp. 190