Book description

Book info

Author
Title
eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
PublisherPuffin
File size3.7 Mb
GanreMystery
Release date 01.04.1989
ISBN9780140329803
Pages count176
Book rating4.03 (635 votes)
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This is a sophisticated mystery that takes little readers seriously. I read about a trillion Agatha Christies when I was a child, and those are written for grownups but I remember this kids' book being way more emotionally compelling and intellectually layered... though you know, Agatha Christie had much cleverer mysteries and all that, and this isn't at all to malign her, only to say that Ellen Raskin really produced some very unique, brainy, and heartfelt books for children. All her stuff was very special and memorable, and the mysteries always had to do with themes of identity and often involved wordplay. I should reread something of hers. I wrote a book report on this one in the sixth grade so I remember it fairly well, but I'm not sure it was the best of her books, only that I liked it.

There's a moment in here that stuck with me for years and that I still think about pretty frequently, and which almost seemed like a throwaway detail at the time. It was a comment the painter makes about how a good artist doesn't need to paint every leaf to get across the idea of a tree, in response to which his employee Dickory bristles and reflects silently that she drew every brick in the magic marker street scenes she submitted for admission to art school. In a way that's a very simple exchange, but in a way it isn't, and I think it's a good example of how a book for children can get into some themes — e.g., "Art, and ideas about how to make it/what it should be like" — in a pretty adult way.

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