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*Solomon Snow and the Silver Spoon* by Kaye Umansky, illustrated by Scott Nash- young readers fantasy book review
Also by Kaye Umansky:

Solomon Snow and the Stolen Jewel
Solomon Snow and the Silver Spoon
by Kaye Umansky, illustrated by Scott Nash
Ages 9-12 304 pages Candlewick February 2007 Hardcover    

Move over, Oliver Twist; Solomon Snow is the new orphan on the block. Kaye Umansky takes the pathos from the Dickens novel and adds a hearty helping of pure fun. Expertly written, young readers will gobble this story up faster than a bowl of porridge.

Solomon is a foundling who mysteriously shows up on the doorstep of Ma and Pa Scubbins. The only clue to his parents’ identity is a small bit of swaddling cloth and a silver spoon in his mouth. Pa pawns the spoon for a few pints, but Solomon is determined to retrieve his inheritance and track down his family. A bossy, big-nosed girl named Prudence and the Infant Prodigy, a runaway from the circus, join him on his quest. Their adventure turns up a bunch of bad guys, some hungry orphans and of course, the spoon. Yet, no one is really prepared for the surprises that seal this story.

Dickens himself would have a good laugh over this tale, as the author’s playful rendition adds humor while keeping the essence of the orphan’s misadventures. Retaining some of the elements of classic literature, like long chapter titles in which the Intelligent Reader is given a preview of upcoming events, the writing style is more encouraging to a contemporary audience with its lively dialogue and steady action. All of the characters are drawn to perfection, with each one possessing a unique and thoroughly appealing trait.

Although confronted with the drudgery of poverty and the real presence of danger, Solomon and his friends exhibit remarkable common sense and resourcefulness. The bad guys are despicable enough to be despised, while the conclusion offers a satisfying, although surprising, twist.

Solomon Snow and the Silver Spoon is the first story in a new series, which gives me a golden opportunity to use one of Oliver Twist’s memorable lines: “I’d like some more please.”

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  Joyce Handzo/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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