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.
"Starred Review. 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
"Though the story loses steam in the end, many readers will find Will's journey compelling along the way, as he learns that things (and people) are not always what they seem. Grades 5-7." - Booklist
"A compelling coming-of-age road trip." - Kirkus
"[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
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