SHADOW-CATCHER by Betty Levin

SHADOW-CATCHER

Age Range: 10 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Jonathan’s the youngest in his Maine farm family, full of notions gathered from his reading of dime novels about adventure and about city life. But when his grandfather, the itinerant photographer, decides to take him along on his summer rounds, Jonathan’s not at all sure of his desires. Grandpa is a Civil War veteran, taciturn and sometimes cold, who holds his thoughts and his secrets deep within himself. So when Jonathan watches Grandpa as he photographs an astonishing scene of logging over whitewater rapids, the images Jonathan carries—of a floating roof and a frantic man in a checkered shirt—might not be the ones in the photograph. Arriving in a town called Masham, Jonathan is astonished to learn that his grandfather has a photography gallery and Annie, the spirited daughter of the woman who runs it, calls Grandpa “Uncle Rodney.” Grandpa keeps putting off developing the pictures, even though a local man seems very interested in seeing them. The mystery of what the pictures reveal is at the heart of a resolution, which means new lives for both Grandpa and Jonathan. The story is rich in detailing how photographs were made in the 1890s, and how folks would queue up at fairs and job sites to have their pictures taken. The joys of reading—from Dickens to dime novels—and the ungentle treatment of both Native Americans and people of mixed blood like Annie loop deftly into the plot. Intriguing and satisfying to the end. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: May 30th, 2000
ISBN: 0-688-17862-6
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2000




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