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Painted Devil

Painted Devil

by Michael Bedard

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Alice accepts a summer job helping to produce a Punch and Judy puppet show at the library, all she expects is a temporary respite from the tension generated by her mother's troubled pregnancy. But mysterious, frightening events occur as the puppet show draws nearer. Only Alice's odd Aunt Emily knows that these ominous doings are part of an ancient satanic spirit's unrelenting scheme--now turning its evil plot on Alice--and that the only way to avert disaster is to destroy the devil puppet. Bedard's ( Emily ) intensely dark, moody yet handsomely wrought prose lends itself well to this sophisticated thriller; describing Aunt Emily's encounter with the demonic puppet, he writes, ``A chill, reaming darkness spiraled up inside her.'' Vivid, realistic details are masterfully placed to snatch the reader back from the brink of terror as evil's threatening presence is allowed to slowly surround the characters. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-10-The line between imagination and reality is often blurred in this suspenseful fantasy. At first, 14-year-old Alice tries to separate the two, but as strange and frightening experiences multiply, she can no longer tell the difference. Unable to bear her terror any longer, she shares these happenings with her Aunt Emily, telling her about the eerie feelings she has in the library, and how changes in the librarian's behavior and appearance have occurred since she began working there. Aunt Emily is also aware of a sense of foreboding, similar to what she experienced one summer 28 years before when she was drawn into the world of a sinister magic show (A Darker Magic [Athenuem, 1987]). Will the magic show reappear, and where, and who will be the victim this time? All signs point to the library and to Alice. When the time comes, Emily is ready, and with the girl's help she destroys the magician, who appears this time as the Devil in a Punch and Judy show. The tension builds slowly, with eerie sounds, mysterious shadows, glaring eyes, and strange events accumulating until the dramatic climax in which the evil puppet is destroyed. There are many interesting side themes that balance the terror, such as the imaginative doll play of Alice's five-year-old sister and the historical evolution of the puppet shows. Throughout, there are references to the importance of imagination and wonder in our lives, to balance the darker side. There is much to ponder here, complementing the enjoyment of a well-told tale.-Virginia Golodetz, St. Michael's College, Winooski, VT

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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