THE POISON PLACE by Mary E. Lyons

THE POISON PLACE

Age Range: 12 - 15

KIRKUS REVIEW

 In a riveting work of historical fiction from Lyons (Catching the Fire, p. 1032, etc.), readers take a transforming tour through Charles Willson Peale's museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Moses Williams, a silhouette cutter and former slave, leads his daughter through each room and recants the story of his master's life, creating his own sketch of the jack-of-all-trades who produced portraits, plays, and a museum of art and taxidermy to make money he couldn't hold on to. Readers learn of a greedy and deceitful man (hardly recognizable as the man in Janet Wilson's The Ingenious Mr. Peale, 1996) whose relationship with his eldest son was a tragic battle of wills. Williams's own struggle from servitude to freedom, based in facts, unfolds in stark contrast to Peale's apparent scheming and frivolity. The authentic details and fertile atmosphere combine with lively characterizations until even Williams's daughter, always silent, ever listening, has a personality as she moves through chilly rooms where the smell of arsenic seems to linger in the air. (b&w illustrations and diagrams) (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-689-81146-2
Page count: 162pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997




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