November 2012 Indie Next List
“Once again Newbery medalist Cushman takes us back to Elizabethan England, this time to 1599, when Will Sparrow has been traded by his father to an innkeeper in exchange for ale. After stealing some food from the innkeeper, Will fears that he will be sold again, so he runs away. Life on the run is filled with adventure, danger, and hunger. Will becomes attached to an Elizabethan fair troupe with an unusual cast, including a hairy girl, a juggler, and a pig. An intriguing story for middle readers who will find this tale a fun medieval romp.”
— Shirley Mullin, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN
In his thirteenth year, Will Sparrow, liar and thief, becomes a runaway. On the road, he encounters a series of con artists--a pickpocket, a tooth puller, a pig trainer, a conjurer--and learns that others are more adept than he at lying and thieving. Then he reluctantly joins a traveling troupe of "oddities," including a dwarf and a cat-faced girl, holding himself apart from the "monsters" and resolving to be on guard against further deceptions. At last Will is forced to understand that appearances are misleading and that he has been his own worst deceiver. The rowdy world of market fairs in Elizabethan England is the colorful backdrop for Newbery medalist Cushman's new comic masterpiece.