Cover image for Splendors and glooms
Title:
Splendors and glooms
Author:
Schlitz, Laura Amy.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick, [2012]

©2012
Physical Description:
xii, 384 pages ; 23 cm
Summary:
When Clara vanishes after the puppeteer Grisini and two orphaned assistants were at her twelfth birthday party, suspicion of kidnapping chases the trio away from London and soon the two orphans are caught in a trap set by Grisini's ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it is too late.
General Note:
"A Junior Library Guild selection"--Jacket.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
670 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.1 15.0 153476.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 4.2 23 Quiz: 58580.
Added Corporate Author:
ISBN:
9780763653804
Format :
Book

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On Order

Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

Laura Amy Schlitz is the writer of the 2008 Newbery Medal-winning Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from the Medieval Village and the 2013 Newbery Medal-winning Spendors and Glooms.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* A brooding, Dickensian novel with a touch of fantasy and a glimmer of hope, Schlitz's latest opens in London in 1860, when lonely Clara, the only remaining child in a doctor's grief-stricken household, attempts to celebrate her twelfth birthday. Grisini the puppet master is engaged to perform, along with the two orphaned children, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, who serve as his assistants. Clara bridges the class divide to befriend the children. After kidnapping Clara for ransom, cruel Grisini disappears, leaving Lizzie Rose and Parsefall struggling to survive on their own. They make their way to the country house of a bewitched woman whose magical amulet gives her amazing powers while draining away her humanity. There they learn certain grisly secrets involving their cruel master, Clara's fate, and the wealthy witch, who seeks to control them all. The magic of the storytelling here lies in the subtle depiction of menacing evil. After working its way insidiously through the characters' lives, it is defeated by the children, who grow in strength and understanding throughout the novel. Vividly portrayed and complex, the characters are well-defined individuals whose separate strands of story are colorful and compelling. Schlitz weaves them into an intricate tapestry that is as mysterious and timeless as a fairy tale. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Schlitz's Newbery Medal winner, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village (2007) earned her a wide following, and librarians will be eager to see what she's up to next.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-Set in a Dickensian London, Davina Porter is the perfect narrator to capture the nuances of the characters and the time period in Schlitz's exceptional Victorian fantasy (Candlewick, 2012). Listeners will ache for the orphan children, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, when they come up with money after pawning a watch. Should they have a proper meal and see the marionettes, or spend the money on practical items they so desperately need? Will they be able to hold onto it long enough to realize either option? The privileged Clara has been kidnapped and transformed by the evil puppet master Grisini. He gained his power from the witch, Cassandra, who desperately needs a child to steal the fire opal that fuels her magic, thereby saving her from a fiery death. Grisini offers up his charges, not realizing that they have discovered the puppet Clara. Parsefall believes it is the missing girl, and Lizzie Rose can't quite deny it. When Clara's father sees Parsefall using the puppet, he confronts the children who performed with their master on his daughter's birthday. Threatened by the possibility of police, the children flee. Cassandra's promise of an inheritance and money for the train arrive just in time. If and how the three children can save themselves will keep listeners enthralled to the very end. Porter's deliberate pacing intensifies the drama and her talent with accents broadens the portrayals. A not-to-be-missed gothic thriller.-Janet Thompson, Chicago Public Library, W. Belmont Branch, IL (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.