Pinocchio's Sister

Jan Slepian, Author Philomel Books $14.95 (122p) ISBN 978-0-399-22811-7
Set in the days of vaudeville, this psychological thriller charts the bizarre antipathy of a ventriloquist's daughter for her stage sister, a ventriloquist's dummy. After his second wife runs away with another performer, Martha's brooding father all but ignores his daughter. On stage, he makes her the butt of Iris the puppet's jokes. Martha finds some consolation in two new acquaintances: sassy Mrs. Pelosi, a retired vaudevillian, and Stashu, the youngest member of a Polish acrobat team. Neither friend, however, can root out the growing hatred Martha feels toward Iris or squelch Martha's scheme to destroy her wooden rival. Effectively juxtaposing realism with a hint of illusion, Slepian (Risk and Roses; The Broccoli Tapes) explores the grit behind vaudeville glitter and the spirit of its troupers. Her chilling account offers a provocative glimpse at the thin line between playing a role and being bound by one. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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