Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Book Review: 'The Puppeteer's Apprentice' by D. Anne Love

✰✰✰½ As the scullery maid at Dunston Manor, an eleven year old girl called Mouse struggles to survive. Orphaned at birth, Mouse is used to a life of constant work, hunger, and abuse; it’s the only life she has ever known. Mouse has nothing, not even a proper name. Many times she has dreamed of running away, but she has always returned. Always…until one day when it all became too much. Beaten and accused of stealing, Mouse starts to run and doesn’t stop. Having never set foot outside of the manor before, Mouse has no idea where she is going. As luck would have it, she is rescued by a group of travelers, who all too soon go their separate ways.

One day Mouse is enchanted by the most wonderful performance. The puppets are magical, colorful, and almost seem alive. Believing her destiny is to make the puppets dance, Mouse hatches a plan to hitch a ride on the puppeteer’s wagon. But Mouse soon discovers that the life of a puppeteer is filled with hard work, practice, and danger. While young Mouse struggles to find the determination to pursue her dream and create a life, her beloved puppeteer has a secret to hide that could put them both in danger. Mouse’s adventure of a lifetime takes her on a journey filled with startling revelations and secrets; mayhap Mouse will even find a real name for herself someday.

The Bottom Line: This is a charming tale about a plucky young girl determined to find her way in the world. As she struggles to learn the trade, Mouse grows up from a scared little girl into an independent, strong, young woman. Along the way she learns about friendship, determination, and believing in oneself. This short and enjoyable read is recommended for girls in grades 5 – 8 who enjoy reading historical fiction with strong female characters. A few scenes contain some violence.

If you like The Puppeteer’s Apprentice by D. Anne Love, be sure to check out The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman.

Details: The Puppeteer’s Apprentice by D. Anne Love. Hardcover published by Margaret K. McElderry Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division) in 2003. 185 p. ISBN: 978-0-689-84424-9

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