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Posts Tagged «con men»

Seer of Shadows

Friday, April 16th, 2010

seer-shadows-avi-paperback-cover-artby Avi    p. 202  Grades:  5-8

Do photographs reveal the truth?  In our age of Photoshop, we know that photos can be altered to give a different version of reality, but what about photographs taken in 1872?  In Seer of Shadows, Horace Carpetine is apprenticed to a photographer who alters a photograph to make his wealthy customer believe the spirit of her adopted daughter is watching over the woman.  Horace realizes that this is no photographic trick.  The ghost of the daughter has actually returned to wreak revenge on her cruel parents.

Connections:  For other good ghost stories, consider these authors:  Cynthia DeFelice and Betty Ren Wright.  The library also has good nonfiction on photography and biogrpahies of famous photographers such as Ansel Adams, Margaret Bourke-White, and Dorothea Lange.

Crows & Cards

Friday, February 26th, 2010

crows and cardsby Joseph Helgerson   p. 279   Grades:  6-8

Twelve-year-old Zebulon Crabtree is angry with his father for shipping  him off on a Mississippi riverboat to St. Louis to become a tanner’s apprentice.  He quickly decides to disobey his dad when  Chilly Larpenteur, a cardshark and con man, tricks him out of his money and convinces Zeb to join his racket.   Zeb pretty much becomes Chilly’s prisoner, being locked in the cupboard of the gambling house each evening and forced to work the wire that signals Chilly about his opponent’s cards, so he can cheat.   Zeb’s only hope is to escape, and with the help and friendship of a slave and a Hidasta Indian chief and his daughter, he may succeed.  This is a humorous, rollicking adventure reminiscent of Mark Twain’s novels.

Connections:  The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventues of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain and The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by W. R. Philbrick.