Book Reviews of The Mystery of the Fool and the Vanisher

The Mystery of the Fool and the Vanisher
The Mystery of the Fool and the Vanisher
Author: Ruth Ellwand
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ISBN-13: 9780763620967
ISBN-10: 0763620963
Publication Date: 9/9/2008
Pages: 104
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Rating:
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1

5 stars, based on 1 rating
Publisher: Candlewick
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

2 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Mystery of the Fool and the Vanisher on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Candace Cunard for TeensReadToo.com

David Ellwand has always been fascinated by the Downs. This rolling landscape of open plains and beech trees, with its legends about faeries and other fantastic creatures, has always excited him. He never quite believes in the legends, but one day he discovers a flint stone with a hole naturally worn through the center, a stone which, when looked through, will allow him to see the creatures around him that cannot be perceived by the naked eye. One day, he follows a will-o'-the-wisp to the ruins of an old house near some flint mines, where he discovers a padlocked chest in an outhouse. He brings the box back to his studio, pries it open, and begins to document the contents. Within, he finds old phonograph records, which he decodes to discover the secret of the objects inside the box.

The middle of the book is a transcript of the phonograph recordings, detailing the discoveries of Isaac Wilde, a photographer from the 1880s. The recordings explain that the contents of the box were collected by Wilde over the course of a mining expedition in the Downs in 1889. Wilde was supposed to be present to photographically document the scene, but as he hears from the residents of the area about the strange goings on and the myths of faeries, he decides to find out for himself if they are really true. He searches for clues of the faeries' existence, and eventually works to create a camera that could capture their images.

Both the frame narrative of Ellwand's discovery of the box and Wilde's narrative about his experiences in the mines are accompanied by haunting images of the Downs and of the contents of the box. The photographs range in style from color prints to black-and-white to reproductions of older styles of photography, like silver-gelatin prints and daguerreotypes. This is no picture book--the images enhance the story in new and different ways. The book's layout and formatting are visually pleasing, and meant to attract the attention of the eye. The realism of the photographic illustrations helps heighten the sense of wonder at the finished product, and leads one to question if this account is fact or fiction.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book--I read it in one sitting! The writing itself was clear and occasionally wistful, detailing Ellwand's fascination with the English Downs and exploring the intersection of the worlds of science and fantasy at which Isaac Wilde finds himself. A wonderful "picture book" for adults!
reviewed The Mystery of the Fool and the Vanisher on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Candace Cunard for TeensReadToo.com

David Ellwand has always been fascinated by the Downs. This rolling landscape of open plains and beech trees, with its legends about faeries and other fantastic creatures, has always excited him. He never quite believes in the legends, but one day he discovers a flint stone with a hole naturally worn through the center, a stone which, when looked through, will allow him to see the creatures around him that cannot be perceived by the naked eye. One day, he follows a will-o'-the-wisp to the ruins of an old house near some flint mines, where he discovers a padlocked chest in an outhouse. He brings the box back to his studio, pries it open, and begins to document the contents. Within, he finds old phonograph records, which he decodes to discover the secret of the objects inside the box.

The middle of the book is a transcript of the phonograph recordings, detailing the discoveries of Isaac Wilde, a photographer from the 1880s. The recordings explain that the contents of the box were collected by Wilde over the course of a mining expedition in the Downs in 1889. Wilde was supposed to be present to photographically document the scene, but as he hears from the residents of the area about the strange goings on and the myths of faeries, he decides to find out for himself if they are really true. He searches for clues of the faeries' existence, and eventually works to create a camera that could capture their images.

Both the frame narrative of Ellwand's discovery of the box and Wilde's narrative about his experiences in the mines are accompanied by haunting images of the Downs and of the contents of the box. The photographs range in style from color prints to black-and-white to reproductions of older styles of photography, like silver-gelatin prints and daguerreotypes. This is no picture book--the images enhance the story in new and different ways. The book's layout and formatting are visually pleasing, and meant to attract the attention of the eye. The realism of the photographic illustrations helps heighten the sense of wonder at the finished product, and leads one to question if this account is fact or fiction.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book--I read it in one sitting! The writing itself was clear and occasionally wistful, detailing Ellwand's fascination with the English Downs and exploring the intersection of the worlds of science and fantasy at which Isaac Wilde finds himself. A wonderful "picture book" for adults!