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THE BLACK CANARY by Jane Louise Curry


by Jane Louise Curry

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-689-86478-7
Publisher: McElderry

Twelve-year-old biracial James (almost 13) travels 400 years back in time to Elizabethan London in this slow-to-start but ultimately steadily suspenseful historical fantasy. James feels misunderstood, and resents the role that music plays in his family. Reluctantly accompanying his parents to London where his mother is singing with an esteemed period-instrument ensemble, James is drawn to “a faint oval shimmer hanging motionless in midair” in the basement of their flat—a portal to the past. Curry brings history remarkably to life, particularly after James is recruited to the Children of the Chapel Royal, has a part in Ben Jonson’s new play Cynthia’s Revels and is swept up in preparing a solo for the Queen on Twelfth Night day, discovering how much singing matters to him. The tension between James’s increasing involvement in the early 1600s, and his need to maneuver a way back to the present near to when he left will keep young readers turning the pages. Though some aspects of the story feel underdeveloped, Curry makes the life of another era convincingly real. (Fiction. 10-14)