March 10, 2011

Seer of Shadows by AVI

The Seer of Shadows

Seer of Shadows by AVI
Published by Harper Collins 2008
208 Pages
Middle Grade Fiction

Summary from Goodreads
Newbery Medalist Avi weaves one of his most suspenseful and scary tales—about a ghost who has to be seen to be believed and must be kept from carrying out a horrifying revenge.
The time is 1872. The place is New York City. Horace Carpetine has been raised to believe in science and rationality. So as apprentice to Enoch Middleditch, a society photographer, he thinks of his trade as a scientific art. But when wealthy society matron Mrs. Frederick Von Macht orders a photographic portrait, strange things begin to happen.
Horace's first real photographs reveal a frightful likeness: it's the image of the Von Machts' dead daughter, Eleanora.
Pegg, the Von Machts' black servant girl, then leads him to the truth about who Eleanora really was and how she actually died. Joined in friendship, Pegg and Horace soon realize that his photographs are evoking both Eleanora's image and her ghost.
Rich in detail, full of the magic of early photography, here is a story about the shadows, visible and invisible, that are always lurking near.

I like "booktalking" this book during class visits, it's always very well received. There is something about a ghost story and in this case, ghosts being revealed through photos and seeking revenge that seem to grab even the most reluctant reader.  The fact that it's written by such wonderful storyteller, is a bonus. I thought the photography process from the late 1800's was well researched and I found it fascinating. AVI creates an endearing main character in Horace and I was rooting for him from the beginning. Recommended.

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