(2) 4-6 Twelve-year-old Silas Bird lives with his father, a bootmaker and photographer, outside Boneville, Ohio, in 1860. His mother died when he was born, but he does have another companion, a ghost named Mittenwool. When three armed riders show up and haul Pa away, claiming he is the infamous counterfeiter Mac Boat, Silas is lonely and lost, but when one of the men's horses returns--a black horse with a bone-white face--Silas determines to go after his father. Though Silas (well-versed in the classics) tries out names for the horse--Bucephalus, Gringolet, Perceval--the horse remains "Pony." Their journey after Pa is not to be taken lightly, as Mittenwool warns, and it involves traversing the ancient Woods, where they are engulfed by tangled branches and whispers and moans and air thick with words and ghosts (which Silas has the ability to see). Daguerreotypes begin each chapter, lending period appeal as well as extending the thematic thread of photography and counterfeiting. It becomes a hero's journey, on which Silas feels like Telemachus, a boy in search of his lost father. Classical allusions lend depth to Palacio's elegantly written tale. Telling the story from a perspective of years later allows for philosophical considerations, as Silas realizes "the invisible threads" that have bound him to his mother from the beginning. This is Palacio's first novel that doesn't involve characters from Wonder (2012), but it involves plenty of wonder, in rich and haunting ways. An informative and personal author's note is appended.


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