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When Rose, Lily, and Ned Summers escape from the Alderman Cawn-Plaster Memorial Orphanage one dark Victorian night, their goal is a ship bound for America so they can start a new life. But the pretty locket around Rose’s neck—containing photos of the orphans’ dear departed parents—attracts the unsavory attention of London cutthroat Mack the Knife. The children are saved by Spring-Heeled Jack, a legendary superhero-esque rogue who roams the city on bouncy shoes (he can leap over buildings in a single bound). But there’s still trouble—Mack manages to nab Ned and hold him hostage, and hot on Rose and Lily’s heels are Mr. Killjoy and Miss Gasket, the greedy caretakers from the orphanage. Rose and Lily and Ned have plenty of guts and gumption, and with Spring-Heeled Jack, a yappy dog named Spangle, a kindhearted sailor and his barmaid girlfriend on their side, there’s little doubt the Summers siblings will reunite and save the day. The real appeal of this thrilling tale of derring-do lies in its unique format. Author Philip Pullman’s action-packed text gives way every now and then to comics-style panels (by illustrator David Mostyn) that continue the plot, complete with witty asides and clever commentary by a crew of cartoon animals who keep pace with the story. There’s enough silliness in this send-up to entertain any adventure-lover.
posted Aug 17, 2010 at 11:37AM
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