Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Though Charles Dickens's canon includes more stories about rather than for children, this intimate, fictionalized account of the writer's boyhood, from the creators of Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, suggests how his budding literary imagination foreshadowed his future achievements. Hopkinson's conversational prose immediately lands readers on the foggy streets of Victorian London: "Come along, now. We are here to search for a boy called Dickens." The 12-year-old boy tells stories to entertain his colleagues at the factory where he works while his family is stuck in debtors' prison; one tale features an orphan named David who tries to persuade his Aunt Betsey to take him in. As readers follow Dickens through the streets, where he's "surrounded by pickpockets; ladies with shattered hopes; a miserly old man; a young gentleman with great expectations," his inspiration is palpable. Dominated by grays and browns, Hendrix's mixed-media illustrations picture a grim, coal-dusted London, one in which the characters taking shape in Dickens's mind sweep through the streets as blue specters; yet Hendrix also conveys the boy's optimism and creativity during a difficult chapter in his childhood. Ages 4-9. Author's and illustrator's agent: Writers House. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved