The Puppets of Spelhorst by Kate DiCamillo

Our Rating
Author: Kate DiCamillo

Category: Children's, Teenage & educational

Book Format: Hardback

Publisher: Walker Books

ISBN: 9781529512854

RRP: $27.99

Once upon a time there was an old sea captain. He lived alone in a small room above a shop. He had no family. He was lonely and as he listened to the noises from the shop below, pigeons arrived on his windowsill.

One day he decided to go for a walk and came upon a toy shop. In the window were puppets hanging on a fishing line. A king and a wolf and a girl and a boy and an owl. The girl had a heart-shaped face like someone he loved long ago. He went in to purchase her. But the owner would not split the puppets up. He had to buy them all if he wanted the one.

The man took them home and put them all in a trunk except for the girl who had violet eyes. He wept as he wrote a letter, placing it in the trunk. When the man fell asleep the puppets began to talk to each other. For the first time the girl saw the moon.

This is a story of five puppets and what happens to them after they are given to a family with two young girls. They are placed on a mantlepiece with each having an adventure of sorts.

The language the puppets use is clever. The king who keeps making commandments, the wolf who can’t be quiet about his truly sharp teeth. The boy who is over the wolf talking about his teeth. The owl’s wise words.

Kate DiCamillo always takes my breath away with her books. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and The Tale of Despereaux are just two that I would recommend to you. Like many fairytales The Puppets of Spelhorst is dark, with moments of cruelty, as life can be. But it is wonderful.

Reviewed by Rowena Morcom
Age Guide 7+



I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, raised in Clermont, Florida, and currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I write for both children and adults and I like to think of myself as a storyteller.

Here are a few more facts about me: I am short. And loud. I hate to cook and love to eat.

I am single and childless, but I have lots of friends and I am an aunt to three lovely children (Luke, Roxanne, and Max) and one lovable dog (Ramona).

I think of myself as an enormously lucky person: I get to tell stories for a living.

Visit Kate Camillo’s website

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