By Candlewick

Reviewed for Middle School, 2012

Young Clara Wintermute doesn’t understand the chain of events that she will bring about by having the master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, come perform at her birthday party. Clara tries to make friends with Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, the orphaned assistants helping Grisini, but when she goes missing, there are more questions left for everyone to answer than expected. Will her parents be able to find her? Where has Grisini disappeared to? What will they do now? Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are left trying to sort out the strings that have been tangled like a web that leaves them exposed to questions from the police and threats from more powerful enemies than they ever expected. Splendors and Glooms will keep young readers intensely entertained and help them work on their vocabulary and reading skills with this exciting story. (Candlewick Press, $11.42)