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Spell & Spindle

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Perfect for Halloween reading, this is the eerie tale of a boy who trades bodies with a wooden marionette. Doll Bones meets Splendors and Glooms . . . The Museum of Peculiar Arts holds many oddities--a mechanical heart, a diary bound in its owner's skin . . . and Penny, a child-size marionette who almost looks alive. Fog clouds Penny's memories from before the museum, but Perfect for Halloween reading, this is the eerie tale of a boy who trades bodies with a wooden marionette. Doll Bones meets Splendors and Glooms . . . The Museum of Peculiar Arts holds many oddities--a mechanical heart, a diary bound in its owner's skin . . . and Penny, a child-size marionette who almost looks alive. Fog clouds Penny's memories from before the museum, but she catches glimpses here and there: a stage, deep red curtains, long-fingered hands gripping her strings. One day, a boy named Chance touches Penny's strings and hears her voice in his head. Penny can listen, and watch, and think? Now someone else is watching Penny and Chance--a man with a sharp face, a puppeteer who has the tools to change things. A string through a needle. A twist of a spindle. And suddenly Chance is trapped in Penny's marionette body, while Penny is free to run and dance. She knows that finding a way to switch back is the right thing to do. But this body feels so wonderful, so full of life! How can Penny ever return to her puppet shell?


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Perfect for Halloween reading, this is the eerie tale of a boy who trades bodies with a wooden marionette. Doll Bones meets Splendors and Glooms . . . The Museum of Peculiar Arts holds many oddities--a mechanical heart, a diary bound in its owner's skin . . . and Penny, a child-size marionette who almost looks alive. Fog clouds Penny's memories from before the museum, but Perfect for Halloween reading, this is the eerie tale of a boy who trades bodies with a wooden marionette. Doll Bones meets Splendors and Glooms . . . The Museum of Peculiar Arts holds many oddities--a mechanical heart, a diary bound in its owner's skin . . . and Penny, a child-size marionette who almost looks alive. Fog clouds Penny's memories from before the museum, but she catches glimpses here and there: a stage, deep red curtains, long-fingered hands gripping her strings. One day, a boy named Chance touches Penny's strings and hears her voice in his head. Penny can listen, and watch, and think? Now someone else is watching Penny and Chance--a man with a sharp face, a puppeteer who has the tools to change things. A string through a needle. A twist of a spindle. And suddenly Chance is trapped in Penny's marionette body, while Penny is free to run and dance. She knows that finding a way to switch back is the right thing to do. But this body feels so wonderful, so full of life! How can Penny ever return to her puppet shell?

30 review for Spell & Spindle

  1. 3 out of 5

    Rajiv

    A BIG Thank You to Netgalley and Random House Books for Young Readers for providing me a copy of “Spell and Spindle” by Michelle Schusterman in exchange for my review. The main highlight of this story for me was the characters how the author realistically portrays them. I especially adored how the author made Penny more three dimensional, even though she is only supposed to be a marionette in theory. Though Penny is supposed to be good and heroic, she also makes mistakes, gets scared, and runs aw A BIG Thank You to Netgalley and Random House Books for Young Readers for providing me a copy of “Spell and Spindle” by Michelle Schusterman in exchange for my review. The main highlight of this story for me was the characters how the author realistically portrays them. I especially adored how the author made Penny more three dimensional, even though she is only supposed to be a marionette in theory. Though Penny is supposed to be good and heroic, she also makes mistakes, gets scared, and runs away from problems rather than facing them. I loved seeing all these facets in our protagonist, which is very rare in middle grade novels. Another reason why this book was fun was because the author did not stereotype the genders. Penny and Constance are the main brave heroes in this story. Chance is brave at times too, but we also see a vulnerable side to him and he comes across as the damsel in distress here. The only trouble I had with this “Spell and Spindle” was the villain. Considering how wonderful it was to read about the good guys, I found the villain to be very two dimensional in the mustache-twirling way. I also had trouble understanding the reasons for doing what he did as it didn’t seem very convincing. Apart from that though, I truly enjoyed this story. I really liked Michelle Schusterman's style of writing, and would love to pick up some of her other novels. I also found the illustrations by Kathrin Honesta to be cute on each chapter. Also, I loved that each chapter ends in a serialized cliff-hanger and I found myself turning pages to find out what happened next! Spell and Spindle is definitely one of those books that boys and girls would enjoy reading as it has a lot of mystery, adventure and drama in it. Personally, I enjoyed it a lot too and can’t wait to re-read it once it hits the bookstores.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I was provided a copy of this book via NetGalley and Random House for Children in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. "I just don't think its fair that boys with magic are written as exceptionally smart, but girls with magic are written as exceptionally mean." Chance works for Fortunato, a museum owner of all kinds of oddities. When Chance's parents decide to move away, Fortunato gifts his life sized marionette doll to Chance. Chance quickly finds out that if he touches Penny' I was provided a copy of this book via NetGalley and Random House for Children in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. "I just don't think its fair that boys with magic are written as exceptionally smart, but girls with magic are written as exceptionally mean." Chance works for Fortunato, a museum owner of all kinds of oddities. When Chance's parents decide to move away, Fortunato gifts his life sized marionette doll to Chance. Chance quickly finds out that if he touches Penny's strings he can hear her talk! Over the course of a week, Chance and Penny grow close as he tries to master being a puppeteer so they can run away together to the circus. One day Chance and Penny swap bodies! They figure out why/how it happened and have to get to the circus to put them back into their rightful bodies. Ahh, this book needed to be so much longer, and for YA! I really loved the description of this book, I read it and immediately had to have it. I wasn't disappointed overall either. While I did rate this book 5 stars, I still had my minor gripes with it. For one it wasn't long enough. I know, I know, its a middle grade book and they're supposed to be short, sweet, and to the point; but I needed MORE! Two, the book is marked as horror on Goodreads, not scary at all. Not even in the slightest. It has vibes of being slightly thrilling, but honestly not enough. It could have been a bit more creepy without going over the line for a childrens book. I loved the ending so much, I thought at first I was going to be disappointed and pissed at the direction it was going, but I wasn't! Yay! Oh, almost forgot. I absolutely adored that the author made Constance have more dimension to her character than previously thought. She didn't fit your typical 1950's little girl, she liked reading books that weren't predictable, and weren't all about damsels and witches. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone :)

  3. 3 out of 5

    Michelle

    Saw a rec for this book on Twitter, it was described as a chilling tale. When I looked it up on Amazon, there were five 1-star reviews. People who thought it was inappropriate for their kids to read. It wasn't scary at all. Strange at times, and a bit hard to follow at times, but overall an interesting story and a quick read. Plenty of suspense and short chapters with cliffhangers. I'd recommend it to kids if they're okay with reading about witchcraft-y things.

  4. 3 out of 5

    Charlotte

    a rather moving, gripping, and magical story about a boy and a marionette (who though having conciseness has no ability to move) who swap places, and the boy's brave sister who fights to get her brother back when he is taken prisoner by an evil puppeteer. I liked it (good sibling relationships always do it for me).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Interest Level: 3-6 What would you do if you were given a marionette doll and one day you touched her strings and you heard her thoughts? How freaked out would you be? Penny has spent so many years on the shelf in the museum watching all that goes on. Chance works in the museum helping Fortunato, an elderly man who inherited the museum from the cabinetmaker who was his teacher. When Fortunato is forced to sell the museum he gives Chance the life-sized marionette doll, Penny. When Chance touches P Interest Level: 3-6 What would you do if you were given a marionette doll and one day you touched her strings and you heard her thoughts? How freaked out would you be? Penny has spent so many years on the shelf in the museum watching all that goes on. Chance works in the museum helping Fortunato, an elderly man who inherited the museum from the cabinetmaker who was his teacher. When Fortunato is forced to sell the museum he gives Chance the life-sized marionette doll, Penny. When Chance touches Penny's strings they are able to communicate through their minds. What they don't know is an evil man is watching them and creates an opportunity for Chance and Penny to swap places. Penny is so excited to be in a human body, but not at the expense of Chance's soul. As Penny is trying to find a way to swap them back, Chance is stolen and now Penny doesn't know what to do. Chance's sister, Constance, steps in and is determined to save her brother. What she doesn't expect is to become friends with Penny. Will Penny and Constance be able to find Chance and swap back? Will Penny decide that she wants to keep the human body and leave Chance frozen in the wooden body? What about the evil man? Will he do whatever it takes to keep his marionette, even if it means death? This is a must read that you will not be able to put down until the end. Follow me: Blog - Blazer Tales - https://blazertales.weebly.com/ Facebook - Laurie’s Library Place - https://www.facebook.com/LauriesLibra... Instagram - laurieslibrary - https://www.instagram.com/laurieslibr... Twitter - https://twitter.com/lauriepurser27 Goodreads - Laurie Purser - https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1... Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/auburngirl2...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Netgalley I really enjoyed this, especially the time period setting and the fact that the main character's family was moving from the city to a new suburb in the 1950s. Nicely creepy, but my students won't pick up creepy doll (or in this case, marionette) books very often, the one exception being Hahn's Took. (She has a huge fan base in my library.) I don't think I'll purchase, but if creepy doll books do well at your library, definitely take a look!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    With stories of lost children and stolen souls, Spell and Spindle weaves an eerie and tangled mystery of love, sadness, and secrets. The Museum of Peculiar Arts is the perfect setting to begin a creepy tale with its eclectic inventory of vampire fangs, fairy bones, and cursed jewelry but one piece stands out among the rest; Penny the marionette sits atop a high shelf, listening, watching, and waiting for someone to notice she is alive. Schusterman most notably builds characters that are engaging With stories of lost children and stolen souls, Spell and Spindle weaves an eerie and tangled mystery of love, sadness, and secrets. The Museum of Peculiar Arts is the perfect setting to begin a creepy tale with its eclectic inventory of vampire fangs, fairy bones, and cursed jewelry but one piece stands out among the rest; Penny the marionette sits atop a high shelf, listening, watching, and waiting for someone to notice she is alive. Schusterman most notably builds characters that are engaging and flawed, adding a true sense of authenticity to this fantasy world. Aside from the protagonists Penny and Chance and the mysterious antagonist, readers are treated to glimpses of backstories for the supporting cast beyond simple introductions that expand this 255 page book into a captivating epic of emotions. Achieving this feeling while maintaining a small page count gives this book accessibility for younger readers ready for more in-depth stories. This depth moves beyond characters and into the story itself as the author addresses many contemporary issues including sexism and racism through the eyes of Penny, whose minimal experience with the world allows these situations to come to light in the eyes of an innocent character; Penny may not understand why the people act in this way towards those who are different from them, but she is going to do her best while staying careful. Penny's inner monologue acts as a moral compass and cautionary tale that will stick with readers. Unfortunately, the book's strengths also become its greatest weaknesses as its attempts to tackle too much at once. The writing falls into the classic trap of attempting to reach the next action sequence quickly by unloading the entire backstory of villainy in one chapter instead of leaning more heavily into the clues dropped throughout the story and allowing readers to puzzle the mystery themselves. Additionally, this tale of gloom comes to a sharp standstill as (view spoiler)[the story concludes with such an idealistic outlook. (hide spoiler)] Overall, reviewers are absolutely correct in recommending this to fans of both Doll Bones and Splendors and Gloom as this story shares that creeping sensation of someone watching you.

  8. 3 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    Spell & Spindle by Michelle Schusterman, 255 pages. Random House, 2018. $17. Content: G BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ADVISABLE AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE Chance and his family are moving from the heart of their city to a new, sterile housing development in the suburbs. Chance wants nothing to do with it, especially since it means leaving The Museum of Peculiar Arts, directly below their apartment. AS a final gesture the museum’s curator gives him Penny, a life-sized marionette that has been in the museu Spell & Spindle by Michelle Schusterman, 255 pages. Random House, 2018. $17. Content: G BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ADVISABLE AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE Chance and his family are moving from the heart of their city to a new, sterile housing development in the suburbs. Chance wants nothing to do with it, especially since it means leaving The Museum of Peculiar Arts, directly below their apartment. AS a final gesture the museum’s curator gives him Penny, a life-sized marionette that has been in the museum for decades. When Chance touches her strings for the first time, he can her Penny’s thoughts How is this possible?! This contact launches them and a few others on a adventure unlike any other – especially when Chance finds himself trapped within Penny’s wooden body and Penny becomes Chance – who will believe him? While the underlying structure of the ultimate riddle is a bit confusing, I pushed through my confusion and jumped into the adventure. The tension ramps up nicely to a breathtaking and magical finish. Cindy, Middle School Librarian. MLS https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2018...

  9. 3 out of 5

    Sharon Viall

    Penny is a child size marionette doll. she is given to a boy named Chance. Chance can hear Penny if he is touching her strings. They became friends. Chance is planning to run away and take Penny with him. Someone has cut the strings on Penny's head. Then the next day the device to fix the string was left in Chances mailbox. chance started to fix the string. The next thing he knows he is the one in the marionette doll and Penny is in his body. Chance has a sister Constance and she can tell that C Penny is a child size marionette doll. she is given to a boy named Chance. Chance can hear Penny if he is touching her strings. They became friends. Chance is planning to run away and take Penny with him. Someone has cut the strings on Penny's head. Then the next day the device to fix the string was left in Chances mailbox. chance started to fix the string. The next thing he knows he is the one in the marionette doll and Penny is in his body. Chance has a sister Constance and she can tell that Chance is not in his body. Constance will do whatever it takes to get her brother back. Penny doesn't want to go back into the Marionette, but she doesn't want Chance to be trapped in there as well. mean while Chance and Constance Family have moved to the country, but the carnival is in the city. Everything start to happen when Penny and Constance take a train ride to the city. They go to the museum and find out the friend they had there are really very evil men turning children into Marionette dolls. Read the rest to find out what happens.

  10. 3 out of 5

    Taffy

    Opening line: "There was once a cabinetmaker's apprentice who built a marionette, and this marionette was not a soul-thieving demon." Have you watched the movie "The Polar Express"? Do you remember the creepy scene with the creepy marionettes? And how they came alive? Well, this book isn't quite as creepy. There was adventure, a carnival, missing children and a puppeteer (who was creepy). The story opens with Chance who loves to go to a museum and work. He tells all his troubles to a marionette nam Opening line: "There was once a cabinetmaker's apprentice who built a marionette, and this marionette was not a soul-thieving demon." Have you watched the movie "The Polar Express"? Do you remember the creepy scene with the creepy marionettes? And how they came alive? Well, this book isn't quite as creepy. There was adventure, a carnival, missing children and a puppeteer (who was creepy). The story opens with Chance who loves to go to a museum and work. He tells all his troubles to a marionette named Penny who sits on a shelf and "listens" to Chance. One day the museum owner claims he's shutting down and lets Chance take Penny home. Quite by accident, they find a way to communicate. Then, quite by accident, they switch places: Chance is now Penny-the-Marionette and Penny is now Chance-the Human-Boy. She loves the freedom of being human and questions a little bit of staying in this form. But she likes Chance and knows she needs to switch back. But things go awry and Chance is kidnapped--or puppet-napped? Thus, the adventure begins. This is a story about family, siblings, trust and faith. I personally did not connect with the characters. I thought it was interesting that the author had a girl take over a boy's body but the possible "ick" factor was glossed over so I thought that was good, especially because this is a middle-grade read. There is a creepy factor with the marionettes and their maker as well as a threat of death by fire. Thanks to netgalley for the read!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kellie

    My boss had heard about this book, and how creepy it supposedly was. Both of us were interested in reading it, but our library didn't have it. We finally got a copy of it to share; I was the first to read it, and to be honest, I wish that reading time had been spent on something better. The reviews we initially saw indicated that it was a really creepy story. I guess my kind of creepy is different. For me, this had the makings of an excellent juvenile horror story but was not executed well. When My boss had heard about this book, and how creepy it supposedly was. Both of us were interested in reading it, but our library didn't have it. We finally got a copy of it to share; I was the first to read it, and to be honest, I wish that reading time had been spent on something better. The reviews we initially saw indicated that it was a really creepy story. I guess my kind of creepy is different. For me, this had the makings of an excellent juvenile horror story but was not executed well. When the 'how' of everything was explained, I admit to getting a little confused about it - so how confused will a child be? I couldn't even seem to summon up any real feelings toward the characters one way or the other. Overall, just not worth it. Hopefully juvenile readers will enjoy it more than I did.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessica F

    "There was once a cabinetmaker's apprentice who built a marionette, and this marionette was not a soul-thieving demon. Not at first..." Pulled me in from the first sentence and wouldn't let me put it down! The perfect mix of mystery and adventure. It's Chance's last day at the Museum of Peculiarities. Not only is he moving out of the City, the Museum itself is closing. When the owner gives Chance a marionette as a parting gift, he has no idea he's about to open a box of worms (or should I say, a "There was once a cabinetmaker's apprentice who built a marionette, and this marionette was not a soul-thieving demon. Not at first..." Pulled me in from the first sentence and wouldn't let me put it down! The perfect mix of mystery and adventure. It's Chance's last day at the Museum of Peculiarities. Not only is he moving out of the City, the Museum itself is closing. When the owner gives Chance a marionette as a parting gift, he has no idea he's about to open a box of worms (or should I say, a magical cabinet of curiosities...). For Penny is more than she seems, and old stories sometimes contain a grain of truth.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    This was a creepy, uncomfortable read; yet I just couldn't put it down until the end. I'd recommend it to middle grade readers who want something scary without going too scary. The dialog sometimes would confuse me when I didn't know who was talking or what just suddenly happened. "They all had brains and hearts; those were the most important bits."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    Haunting and edge-of-my-seat suspense. I wanted to know how it ended and just kept reading. I went to an author event in Milwaukee, WI on June 9th and was able to get ARC version of the book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  16. 5 out of 5

    Fm Shipp

  17. 3 out of 5

    Doni Bracht

  18. 5 out of 5

    Illiana

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dillin Billingsley

  20. 3 out of 5

    Martha

  21. 3 out of 5

    Christina

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laura Phelps

  23. 3 out of 5

    Rosandra

  24. 3 out of 5

    Amanda Hansma

    This is absolutely a book made for the people who love mysterious fantasies, I recommend this book to most sixth graders and over.

  25. 3 out of 5

    Amy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

  27. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    “You can’t have an adventure without a little risk.” This marionette story is a little bit creepy, a little bit adventure, and a little bit mystery (while not being too scary). Ultimately, it tells the tale of love between siblings and the lengths they’ll go through to rescue each other.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maria Wang

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mostly Book Reviews

    Thank you NetGalley for my free copy in order for my honest review! First, I would like to add that I read this book with my son (10) and we both loved it so much! Its a magical story about family, Gripping story about a boy and a marionette doll. Who has a conciseness but can not move his body. After swapping places, the boys sister has to fight an evil puppeteer to get her brother back. We loved this kinda spooky book so much! Definitely read out loud with your little one. 4/5 stars!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ryan McGregor

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