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Puppeteer's Apprentice, The Hardcover – April 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689844247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689844249
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,203,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-Abandoned at Dunston Manor as a baby, Mouse was raised as a scullery maid and brutally treated for years. When Cook slashes her face with a meat hook in anger, the child takes to the road. She meets some kindly travelers, but is reminded again and again that she is on her own. Then she happens upon a puppet show, and is completely mesmerized. She asks to become the puppeteer's apprentice, but is flatly turned down. Despite the rejection, she stows away on top of the wagon, and again begs the performer to teach her how to make the puppets come alive. This time, she is grudgingly accepted. As they travel the countryside, Mouse cooks and cleans and, in return, learns the art and craft of a puppeteer. She is a quick study, whether bargaining with vendors, carving wooden figures, or manipulating puppet strings. But a dark figure lurks around the edges of the story, and the puppet theaters. Ordin makes Mouse edgy, although she doesn't know why, and readers will feel the suspense begin to build. The puppeteer, who Mouse learns is a woman traveling in disguise, is slow to reveal anything personal about her past. As the story reaches a sinister climax, she learns the puppeteer's secrets, which prove deadly. Searching throughout the story for her own identity, Mouse ultimately receives a name and experiences great sorrow on her way to fulfilling her dreams. Set in England in the Middle Ages, this wonderfully written tale holds mystery, suspense, and the realism that comes with a battle fought and won.
Kit Vaughan, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-6. At the age of 11 or 12, a girl named Mouse runs away from Dunston Manor, where she was abandoned as a baby and put to work helping the cruel, abusive cook. Making her way to York in the company of a minstrel and his companions, she falls under the spell of a puppet show and begs the puppeteer to take her on as an apprentice. Though Mouse makes her share of mistakes, she devotes herself to their art. Violent forces from the puppeteer's mysterious past overtake them, but Mouse proves her mettle and shows herself to be worthy of trust (and a more suitable name). Appended are a source bibliography and an author's note discussing the history of puppetry from ancient Egypt through the Middle Ages to the present. Combining a likable heroine, a colorful setting, and an exciting plot, this historical adventure will capture young readers, especially those who like to imagine living in medieval times. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan on November 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
We read this story aloud as a family, and really enjoyed it. It's about an orphan girl named Mouse who runs away from her life as a servant. After seeing a puppet show at the fair, she wants to learn how to make the puppets dance. She stows away on the mysterious puppeteer's wagon. After a rough beginning, the two become friends as they travel through Medieval England. It was an enjoyable read, although there was an unnececary description at the beggining that we could have lived without. But there aren't a lot of stories about little girls in the Middle Ages, and this is certainly better than Catherine Called Birdie. In short, it was very, very good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aletheia Knights on June 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
Mouse has nothing: no family, no birthday, not even a real name. Although she's worked all her life in the kitchen of a wealthy manor, she's given barely enough food to keep body and soul together, and the cook berates and beats her regularly. One day his brutality goes too far, and Mouse runs away. When she sees a puppet show at the fair, she is immediately entranced; to her, the puppets represent all the beauty and laughter she's craved all her life, as well as a thoroughly satisfactory way to make a living. She convinces the irascible but secretly tender-hearted puppeteer to take her on as an apprentice. As she learns the secrets of puppetry, though, she also finds herself drawn to the mysterious puppeteer's personal secrets.

Mouse's medieval England comes vividly alive in this splendid little novel. The shabby and the beautiful, kindness and cruelty, merge together to make history, and Love's characters, leap off the page. The mystery is engaging and well-paced, but it is the well-developed characters and the richly rendered setting that will linger in the reader's mind and heart.

Touching, tender, sad, and triumphant, "The Puppeteer's Apprentice" is well worth your time, and should appeal to kids, parents, and teachers alike.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My class of advanced fifth graders loved this. It was a good companion to our study of the middle ages. Do not try it with older kids. Most 4th graders and some 3rd could handle it.
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