Reviews for Will Sparrow's Road : Library Edition

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 March

Gr 5-8--Will Sparrow hates his life. First his father sold him off for some beer and then the innkeeper threatens to sell him into the short, wretched life of chimney sweeping. Will, practiced thief and liar, runs away, desperate to find a better life. What he finds on the road are other consummate liars, charlatans, and the "freak" folk of the fair circuit. At first the boy is frightened of the cat-girl and the angry little person who are part of the troupe he joins. Happy to have food every day, though, Will stays and, as time passes, he learns a great deal about the people around him. Most importantly, he eventually realizes that a person's appearance has nothing to do with their internal goodness. Will has finally found a new and wonderful family with the very people he originally feared. Historical fiction fans will find a wealth of colorful descriptions and characters in Cushman's novel (Clarion, 2012) set in Elizabethan England. Katherine Kellgren does a wonderful job of vocalizing Will's journey. The boy's desperation, inquisitiveness, and emotional evolution are all expertly narrated, giving the story the verve and vivacity that those traveling the Elizabethan markets would have experienced. Libraries looking to expand their historical fiction audiobook collections should consider this title.--Jessica Miller, West Springfield Public Library, MA

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