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Will Sparrow's Road


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About the Author

Karen Cushman's historical novels include the Newbery Honor book Catherine, Called Birdy and Newbery winner The Midwife's Apprentice. She lives with her husband on Vashon Island in Washington State. Visit her website at


A compelling coming-of-age road trip.
--Kirkus Set in Elizabethan England, the novel is built upon Cushman's thorough research and solid understanding of the period.
Booklist [Cushman] manages the tricky balance of keeping her characters engaging and understandable for her audience while still making them very much of their time.
--Horn Book Fascinating, sometimes seemingly preposterous, details are solidly corroborated in the informative author's note that reflects Cushman's extensive research.
School Library Journal Offering action, humor, and heart in equal doses, Cushman's story is, at its core, about creating and claiming a family of one's own.
--Publishers Weekly, starred review Lively and amusing . . . . [Cushman's] details have the surprising aptness of an Elizabeth Enright story--or, to step outside children's books, a Raymond Chandler novel.
--The New York Times Book Review "Karen Cushman is a master of portraying personal transformation. . . . A warmhearted portrait of a boy coming to terms with himself and the world."
Historical Novels Society As usual, Cushman is adept at bringing the past to vivid life, with evocative details from daily Elizabethan life and authentic, often humorous dialogue.

Gr 5-8-"I care for no one but myself and nothing but my belly." Somewhere in England in the year 1599, this is the philosophy of 13-year-old Will Sparrow, abandoned by his mother, sold to an innkeeper by his father in exchange for unlimited ale, and on the run from his grim prospects as a chimney sweep. He is barefoot and hungry, and his naivete and desperation make him a repeated target for ruthless folks along the way. When he hires on with an oddity show, traveling from fair to fair, Will thinks he's found a benefactor in its owner, Thomas Tidball, only to discover that things are not always as they seem. It may just be that the disagreeable dwarf, Lancelot Fitzgeoffrey, and the "creature" Greymalkin, a girl with the head of a cat, provide the care and friendship he seeks. Vivid description brings the period and setting to life, and colorful characters flesh out the simple plotline. Fascinating, sometimes seemingly preposterous, details are solidly corroborated in the informative author's note that reflects Cushman's extensive research. As she did in Catherine Called Birdy (1994) and The Midwife's Apprentice (1995, both Clarion), the author has skillfully evoked a period far outside readers' experience to tell a good and accessible story.-Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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