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The Silver Spoon of Solomon Snow Hardcover – August 23, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–A luckless foundling stars in this sometimes-amusing orphan tale. When 10-year-old Solly Snow learns that he was left on the doorstep as a baby, he immediately sets off to find his true parents. His only clue is the silver spoon that Pa Scubbins had recently pawned in town. Accompanied by a bookish neighbor girl and a pesky, but clever circus performer called the Infant Prodigy, the boy has several narrow escapes and surprises before his quest ends. These mildly involving adventures are related in a sardonic tone that fans of Lemony Snicket's books might enjoy. Highlights include several interludes that mockingly describe the still-grieving Perfect Parents who may (or may not) finally clear up the mystery of Solly's birth. The cloyingly sweet, but resourceful Prodigy is an especially fun character, as she blithely charms and annoys people along the way. Sly narration injects a sense of fun to many of the happenings. Solly himself isn't particularly funny, but his determination, lightened by nervousness and occasional moments of exasperation with his companions, makes him a likable protagonist. His Victorian-style world is filled with greedy adults on the lookout for orphans to exploit. The tale loses a bit of steam when the humor takes a backseat to plot advancement, but there are enough quirky characters and funny moments to sustain readers' interest through to the unexpected, but satisfying conclusion.–Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. Umansky amusingly writes in the flap copy that after rereading Dickens, she thought, "I could do that." She soon learns, "I couldn't." That's all right, as this quest for story for middle-graders has enough Dickensian moments and clever characters to find a welcoming audience. Solly Snow, abandoned 10 years earlier at the home of a washer woman and her wastrel husband, learns his origins when "Pa" sells the silver spoon that arrived with Solly in a laundry basket. Furious, Solly takes off to find his real family. He's soon joined by Prudence, who is as sharp as her pointy nose, and annoying little Rosabel, always referred to by her circus sobriquet, the Prodigy, who knows how to bat her eyes and get her way. The short chapters, directed toward the "Intelligent Reader," are chock-full of twisty turns and high-stepping adventure. Only the ending, which finds Solly virtually back where he started, disappoints. Pair this with Philip Pullman's The Scarecrow and His Servant (2005), another adventure full of fun and flimflam. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (August 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763627925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763627928
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,093,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Solomon Snow and the Silver Spoon by Kaye Umansky is a wonderful
book which sets forth the early life and times of Solly who
is a foundling in search of his true identity, inheritance
and real parents.

Umansky's setting is a wretched old tumbledown cottage atop of a
moor just outside a village named Boring. The cottage is the home
of a young boy named Solomon Snow. Each day he works tediously
for Ma and Pa Scubbins's washing business.

His adoptive father Arnold is seen nightly smoking a strong cigar
and batting the pipe ashes into the homey fireplace. The Scubbinses
are simple people who don't use cutlery. Each day, Solly passes
the school yard where Mrs. Starch rings the morning bell.

Umansky tells how every evening, Solly would consume a bowl
of messy soup. The preparation is vegetable based. It sticks
to the teeth and has a taste akin to boiled stinging nettles.
Solly wishes only for a simple spoon to eat food. He is
unpleasantly surprised to learn that he's a foundling
child. He was abandoned a decade ago on the Scubbinses'
doorstep in a laundry basket with a silver spoon protruding
from his mouth.

Umansky's book shifts back and forth from Solly's difficult
life to the lives of Lord Charles and Lady Elvira who may
very well be Solly's parents. The rich couple bemoan the
disappearance of their son on a daily basis.

When Solly was first discovered, the only things that were
on him were a silk-like cloth and a silver spoon. Solly uses
the cloth as a napkin now. Months earlier, his newly found
father Arnold pawned the spoon to buy Solomon shoes.
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Format: Hardcover
At the school book fair, CookieBooky kid tried to steer me away from this strange little unassuming book with the alliterative title. And CookieBooky kid is often right when it comes to picking out which books I'd like. But something kept drawing me back to Solomon Snow and the Silver Spoon. Luckily, I didn't let her change my mind. I really enjoyed this book.

Solomon Snow has just learned that he was left on the washer woman's doorstep in a basket when he was just a baby. The only things that were with him was a little cloth blanket and silver spoon. He uses the cloth as a napkin now but several months ago his father pawned the spoon to buy Solomon a pair of boots.

Turns out that the boots were too small and the spoon is the only way Solomon can find out who his real parents are. So starts out his adventure. Along the way, he makes friends of Prudence (she is the author of this adventure in more ways than one), Rosabella the 'Pwodigy' (who has trouble with her 'R's' but not much else) and Freddy (who's just happy to be there). In their Dickensian world, the four friends face the many dangers of being a child alone in a mean, cold town. But the snow is the worst of their problems, they'll have to deal with the child farmer, the orphanage matron and a mean old chimney sweep before they're done.

The tale is told in a wonderful way. At first, I was worried that the story might be a little heavy on the 'clever'. But luckily, the author used the clever naming tool only sparingly (and it added to the story rather than detracting from it). In addition, Kaye Umansky has painted the dreary picture she set out to create. I enjoyed the smatterings of humor as well. Best of all, the characters are all lovable in their own way - even Prudence. And the plot has its twists and turns with an ending that I (happily) did not expect.

A wonderful read.
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By LVM on November 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Solomon Snow is a poor peasant boy that lives with his Ma and Pa in the village of Boring. He works with his parents in their laundry business and has nothing to his name. He befriends another outcast child from the village, a girl named Prudence, who takes him on an adventure he will never forget. Together Prudence and Solly discover that his past and true identity is connected to a silver spoon he had as a baby. They decide to journey to Town and uncover all the secrets in Solly's life. On their way they meet an unforgettable cast of characters.

In this well written book Umansky strives to model Dickens' style of writing. She inserts humor as often as possible, which gives this dark and frustrating tale a good balance that keeps the reader interested. The story is clearly character driven. Without each distinct character it would fall apart. Each character from the lonely and worrisome Solly, to the boisterous chimney sweep Freddy, brings a different feeling and tone to the tale. The character's actions and words make this book easy and enjoyable to read and move plot along. The reader is bound to connect to one of the many characters present; therefore, when the story is over the reader is left wanting more.

This book is a fun read and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for good story about a journey, and self discovery. I can't wait for the sequel to find out how Solly and all his friends will deal with the secrets that were revealed!
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A Kid's Review on May 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Poor Solomon Snow works as a laundry boy, delivering people's clothes. But when he hears about the silver spoon leading to his identity, he sets on to Town. Along the way, meeting normally very rude and unwelcome people. A girl with an abnormaly large nose, a girl who cares for nothing but sweets, and a dirty boy.

This is a wonderful book, an easy read, and always entertaining. You always feel for the poor Solomon Snow, always wanting to see what will happen to the poor children. You'll really enjoy this read, and i hope you'll give it a try.
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