The Boy, the Bird, and the Coffin Maker

Matilda Woods, illus. by Anuska Allepuz. Philomel, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-525-51521-0
In the beautiful town of Allora, where fish fly and every house is a brilliant hue, a plague has killed the family of carpenter Antonio. Thirty-one years later, Antonio has become the local coffin maker, spending more time with the dead than with the living. After he buries a young woman who had recently arrived in town, food begins disappearing from his home, and he discovers that she has left behind her 10-year-old son, Tito. The child is skittish, distrustful, and afraid of being discovered by his cruel father, who had abused his mother. But after Antonio nurses the desperately ill boy back to health, Tito slowly begins to trust Antonio and becomes his apprentice. Soon, the two form their own family, but the arrival of Tito’s father threatens their bond. This magical tale, told from an omniscient viewpoint that roves among the characters, is interspersed with a story that Tito and Antonio share aloud of a magical land that just might be real. Elegantly told from start to finish and enhanced by Allepuz’s evocative images and decorations, debut author Woods has created a fairy tale that will linger with readers. Ages 8−12. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 05/15/2018
Genre: Children's
Other - 978-0-525-48736-4
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