Shadow-Catcher [NOOK Book]

Overview

It is 1892, and Jonathan Capewell, a farm boy who dreams of becoming a big-city detective, is sent from home to look after his mysterious grandfather. Grandpa is a traveling photographer, and his independent ways have never included family members -- certainly not his youngest grandchild.

After a grueling journey, Jonathan and Grandpa shoot an image of a puzzling struggle on a raging river in the Maine woods. At first they don't suspect it's anything more than a logging ...

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Shadow-Catcher

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Overview

It is 1892, and Jonathan Capewell, a farm boy who dreams of becoming a big-city detective, is sent from home to look after his mysterious grandfather. Grandpa is a traveling photographer, and his independent ways have never included family members -- certainly not his youngest grandchild.

After a grueling journey, Jonathan and Grandpa shoot an image of a puzzling struggle on a raging river in the Maine woods. At first they don't suspect it's anything more than a logging accident. But later the scene comes back to haunt them when a stranger shows an uncommon interest in the undeveloped negatives.

Who is this over-friendly stranger? Why does he seem so determined to have those pictures? The clues point to something that Jonathan has already begun to suspect: what happened on the rapids that day was no accident....

Although he often fancied himself a detective, Jonathan must become a real sleuth when he attempts to solve a mystery while accompanying his grandfather, a Civil War veteran and traveling photographer in Maine.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this somewhat belabored whodunit set in the late 1800s, Levin (The Banished) introduces amateur sleuth Jonathan Capewell, who'd rather be on the "mean streets" of the city snagging "sly criminals" than do his chores on his family's remote farm in Maine. Jonathan's parents, however, have other plans for their son; they are anxious for him to spend time with his grandfather learning the photography trade. Trailing his grandfather on shooting sessions, then later working in Grandfather Capewell's studio in the nearby town of Masham, Jonathan learns to see with a photographer's eye. His heightened perception proves beneficial when he begins piecing together a puzzle involving a river accident he witnessed, the vandalism of his grandfather's cart and a mysterious stranger anxious to get his hands on some of Grandfather Capewell's pictures. Moving at a sluggish pace, the novel seems disjointed at the beginning and strained in the end as loose ends are forced together to form a neat resolution. The minor characters--most of whom play a vital role in the denouement--are sketchily drawn; Jonathan also lacks depth. Shutter-bugs may appreciate the book's details about 19th-century picture-taking, but readers craving action and suspense may do better elsewhere. Ages 10-up. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature
Even though Jonathan Capewell is more familiar with plowing and haying, he dreams of being a big city detective. When his parents insist that he accompany his traveling photographer grandfather on the road, Jonathan reluctantly agrees to go with his reticent, often gruff grandparent. But the spirit of adventure and mystery soon capture this young farm boy's attention. When a mysterious stranger shows an interest in negatives that Grandpa shot of a logging accident, Jonathan suspects something more is at stake. With the help of a newfound friend, Annie, Jonathan solves the mystery, wins his grandfather's respect, and achieves independence. Set in 1892 in northern Maine, this novel combines the suspense of mystery with the appeal of a coming-of-age story. Although at times characters may seem thinly drawn, the overall story will captivate young readers. 2000, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, Ages 10 up, $15.95. Reviewer: Leah Hanson
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Jonathan's parents decide that he should leave the family farm and accompany his grandfather, an itinerant photographer, on his travels and learn his trade. Rather than teaching him anything, the man assigns the boy the boring tasks and hard work entailed in journeying by wagon in the late 1800s in rural Maine. At the logging camp, one of Grandpa's annual stops, Jonathan finally begins to understand his grandfather's profession, and the excitement of the log run down the river is a great introduction to the mystery that slowly unravels through the rest of the story. Levin is a solid writer and her style is well suited to this story that explores family dynamics and social mores as well as the vast difficulties in daily life. Unfortunately, her plot pace takes a while to pick up and it is only the last third of the story that moves with briskness and has child appeal. Many readers will grow impatient, rather than savor the slow unraveling of a mystery. However, for those willing to wait, there are strong female characters, realistic aftereffects of the Civil War for its veterans, family jealousies, and some racial tension and bigotry to accompany the slow accumulation of clues, and Grandpa and Jonathan's growth develops naturally and believably.-Carol A. Edwards, Sonoma County Library, Santa Rosa, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Jonathan's the youngest in his Maine farm family, full of notions gathered from his reading of dime novels about adventure and about city life. But when his grandfather, the itinerant photographer, decides to take him along on his summer rounds, Jonathan's not at all sure of his desires. Grandpa is a Civil War veteran, taciturn and sometimes cold, who holds his thoughts and his secrets deep within himself. So when Jonathan watches Grandpa as he photographs an astonishing scene of logging over whitewater rapids, the images Jonathan carries-of a floating roof and a frantic man in a checkered shirt-might not be the ones in the photograph. Arriving in a town called Masham, Jonathan is astonished to learn that his grandfather has a photography gallery and Annie, the spirited daughter of the woman who runs it, calls Grandpa "Uncle Rodney." Grandpa keeps putting off developing the pictures, even though a local man seems very interested in seeing them. The mystery of what the pictures reveal is at the heart of a resolution, which means new lives for both Grandpa and Jonathan. The story is rich in detailing how photographs were made in the 1890s, and how folks would queue up at fairs and job sites to have their pictures taken. The joys of reading-from Dickens to dime novels-and the ungentle treatment of both Native Americans and people of mixed blood like Annie loop deftly into the plot. Intriguing and satisfying to the end. (Fiction. 10+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062062963
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/23/2010
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 868,465
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Betty Levin is the author of many popular books for young people, including The Banished; Look Back, Moss; Away to Me, Moss; Island Bound; Fire in the Wind; and The Trouble with Gramary. Betty Levin has a sheep farm in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where she also raises and trains sheepdogs. In Her Own Words...

"I started writing stories almost as soon as I began to read. They were derivative and predictable-as much a way of revisiting characters and places in books I loved as it was a means of self-expression. I don't remember when words and their use became important. In the beginning was the story, and for a long time it was all that mattered.

"Even though I always wrote, I imagined becoming an explorer or an animal trainer. This was long before I had to be gainfully employed. It wasn't until after I'd landed in the workplace, first in museum research and then in teaching, that I returned to story writing-this time for my young children. Then a fellowship in creative writing at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College gave me and my storymaking a chance. One affirmation led to another, and now there are books-and some readers.

"When I talk with children in schools and libraries, I realize that child readers are still out there. When they get excited about a character or a scene, a new dimension opens for them, a new way of seeing and feeling and understanding.

"Of course there is always one child who asks how it feels to be famous and to be recognized in supermarkets. I explain that the only people who recognize me are those who have seen me working my sheep dogs or selling my wool at sheep fairs. That response often prompts another query: Why write books if they don't make you rich and famous? I usually toss that question back at the children. Why do they invent stories? How does story writing make them feel?

"Eventually we explore the distinction between wanting to be a writer and needing to write. If we want to write, then we must and will. Whether or not we become published authors, we all have tales to tell and stories to share. Literature can only continue to grow from the roots of our collective experience if children understand that they are born creative and that all humans are myth users and storytellers."

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Sunday Mrs. Miranda Noone appeared at church, a day that was to prove momentous because of what it sparked, Jonathan Capewell missed all the early signals that should have alerted a detective in training.

That was how he thought of himself: a detective like Wizard Will, the Boy Ferret of New York, or Fergus Fearnaught, the New York Boy, heroes of the fast-paced dime novels he read whenever he could.

Even though Jonathan had never set foot in any city, he could almost see the mean streets where sly criminals lurked. In his mind's eye he would close in on them like those young detectives. It didn't matter that he lived on a farm in northern Maine. He had only to spy an arrowhead in a freshly plowed field to imagine it a vital clue to a crime that he alone could solve.

Only Jonathan's best friend, Warren, who supplied the detective stories, knew that every arrowhead Jonathan added to his collection served as a training trophy -- just so long as Jonathan had discovered it himself.

But that spring Sunday he blundered along like a rabbit heading unaware for the snare that is set for it. To begin with, he was the last in his family to notice that Mrs. Noone and Grandpa seemed to be old friends. He did see that his sister, Rose, couldn't keep her eyes off Mrs. Noone's fashionable, lavender-scented traveling dress. He even heard Mama mistakenly call her Mrs. Moon, only to be corrected by Grandpa: "No, Sara, this is Mrs. Noone of Masham." When Mama tried to cover her confusion by remarking on the great distance Mrs. Noone had traveled, and all by herself, too, Jonathan still failed to detect the edge of disapproval in Mama'stone.

Grandpa said he would attend to Mrs. Noone's horse. It would have a good rest and feed in the village before she had to return to Masham. His family would make room in the wagon for her and for the photographic supplies she had brought him.

Jonathan just assumed that everyone was proud to receive such an elegant visitor. But appearances are distracting, if not downright deceiving. Even though detectives are supposed to have eagle eyes so that no detail escapes their notice, Jonathan didn't have an inkling about Mama's alarm until they were home in the parlor and she went all blotchy red. Jonathan found this bewildering. All he could tell was that Grandpa expected Mrs. Noone to stay to Sunday dinner.

Mama whispered to Grandpa that she needed some warning if she was to serve guests at her Sunday table. Grandpa replied that Miranda didn't need things gussied up for her. Then Mama fled to the kitchen, leaving the rest of the family tongue-tied and Mrs. Noone seated on the edge of the good chair, her hands folded and a stiff smile scoring her face.

When Mama called for Rose, Mrs. Noone asked if she could help, too. "I don't mean to put you out," she said. "Maybe I could -- "

But Mama cut her short. "Thank you, no."

Mrs. Noone stood up, walked to Grandpa, placed one pale hand on his dark sleeve, and said, "Perhaps we should try this visit another time, when you can give your daughter-in-law some advance warning."

Looking embarrassed, Grandpa declared, "'You're welcome here anytime. Isn't that right?" he demanded of Mama. "Sara, aren't my guests welcome in my house?"

Mama stepped out of the kitchen, her floured hands held out in front of her. "Yes, of course," she replied. "Your house," she repeated.

Mrs. Noone then said, "Thank you so much. This has been a pleasant visit, and I've stayed long enough." She moved toward the front hall, turned, and said, "I enjoyed meeting you all and seeing where Rodney lives when he's not in Masham. "

"Did you hear that?" Mama asked after Grandpa had hitched up Teddy and driven away with Mrs. Noone. "She enjoyed seeing the house. I'll bet she did."

"Sara," Dad responded, "that was just manners."

Mama started to retort, then pressed her lips together before returning to the kitchen.

Later, as Sunday dinner drew to a close without Grandpa, Dad suggested setting a plate on the stove to keep warm.

Mama turned her indignation on Dad. "I don't need to be instructed. Haven't I taken care of your father all these years?

"Very well, Sara," Dad replied. "But don't forget that he's on the road a good many months and seeing to himself."

"Or being seen to," she retorted. Then she sighed. "Later," she said to him. "We'll speak of this later."

Even though she was talking to Dad, Jonathan caught the sweep of her glance. It was directed at him.

His brothers and sister applied themselves to the food on their plates. No one said another word until Mama asked Rose to fetch the pie.

Jonathan couldn't tell whether Mama had focused on him just because he was the youngest or for some other reason beyond his grasp. Maybe his brothers and sister understood why his parents were so stirred up over Grandpa's "friend." All Jonathan needed to do was ask them. It ought to be as simple as that.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    Gathering uproar

    Wanna kill some cats go to "quaver" result two. The gatheting has gone mad!!!!!! Toxin Clone

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    Urgent request

    Everybody at sweet tooth result one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    To romolous

    Gracefeather at teapot result 1

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Nira

    The female wolf stepped out of the shadows and snarled.....

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    Posted February 22, 2013

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