The Rope Trick

The Rope Trick

4.0 5
by Lloyd Alexander
     
 

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It's magic! The great American storyteller Lloyd Alexander conjures an engrossing tale of a bewitching magician. Lidi is not only beautiful-she has the talent to perform the greatest magic feat imaginable-the rope trick. But she must find the one master who can teach her how.

On her quest to find master magician Ferramondo, she meets some traveling companions

Overview

It's magic! The great American storyteller Lloyd Alexander conjures an engrossing tale of a bewitching magician. Lidi is not only beautiful-she has the talent to perform the greatest magic feat imaginable-the rope trick. But she must find the one master who can teach her how.

On her quest to find master magician Ferramondo, she meets some traveling companions who all help on the journey: a child with true supernatural powers, a handsome outlaw with a price on his head, a successful entrepreneur who wants her in his troupe. But when the child is kidnapped, Lidi must abandon the search and summon her own powers to save the girl. The thrilling conclusion is Alexander at the top of his form in a remarkable fantasy that is both light and dark, funny and serious, believable and mystical. As always with an Alexander novel, the real magician is the storyteller himself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Magician Lidi recruits an orphan and an outcast as she seeks out the great Ferramondo to learn the one magic trick she is unable to do. PW said, "Even as the outsize characterizations and rollicking adventure amuse, the compassionate vision of life's possibilities is likely to bring a lump to the throat." Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Ever a wizard with words, Alexander imbues this tale of a young magician on a quest with whiffs of mystery-though he concludes with an abrupt bit of literary legerdemain that reads as if he ran out of steam. Impelled by the failures of her father, copper-tressed Lidi is determined to become the greatest of magicians, which means tracking down elusive master magician, Ferramondo, and persuading him to part with the secret of his fabled Rope Trick. The search takes Lidi, along with her hulking, fatherly roustabout Jericho; Daniella, a small child who seems to have a real ability to foretell the future; and Julian, a fugitive cafone (tenant farmer), wandering through several provinces of Italy, er, "Campania," before falling afoul of a ruthless moneylender, Scabbia. The author relates his tale economically (a blessing in these days of doorstopper fantasies), using short but telling sentences, keeping the cast's size relatively small, and drawing readers into his characters with deft hints of their thoughts and mental states. Without warning, Scabbia's minions swoop down to capture the quartet, burning their wagons and possessions, but they escape brutal fates by climbing a suddenly stiff rope that whirls them off to a happily ever after land where Ferramondo waits for them with promises of signs and wonders. Several seemingly miraculous transformations in the story's course seem to point toward further adventures, but it's hard to see what they might be after this summary resolution. Still, even a patchy tale from this master storyteller makes the general run of historical fantasy look clumsy.-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It's wonderful to be in the thrall of a master storyteller once more, as Alexander (The Gawgon and the Boy, 2001, etc.) spins this full-hearted tale of magic, illusion, and love. Lidi is a magician; she understands that her power comes from knowing that her audiences want to believe. She travels with Jericho, who tends the wagons as he had for her father. One night in one of the endless towns in Campania-a place very like medieval Italy-she rescues a small girl from an abusive innkeeper, and discovers Daniella can say what is true. People pay her for that, seeing in it their future. As they perform their shows, Alexander skillfully weaves the story of how it feels to create an audience and how to stoke it; he allows Daniella's preternatural gift to foreshadow what is coming. Other stories follow as Lidi searches for the magician who can teach her the Rope Trick, which her father swore she could never learn. The fugitive Julian, with ghosts behind his eyes, awakens Lidi's affections; another itinerant magician, Pompadoro and his dancing pigs, may know the whereabouts of the Rope Trick master; finally, the rescue of a wronged widow leads to a thrilling dénouement where character and illusion burst into a kaleidoscopic finale. The characters speak with undissembling directness and have the Italian gift for enfolding a kernel of wisdom in the language of the everyday. It is no illusion that this is a magical read. (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142401194
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
08/19/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
1,080,289
Product dimensions:
5.15(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.55(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Lloyd Alexander is a master of high (and not-so-high) fantasy and has won nearly every major award for children's books.

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The Rope Trick 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I learned a lot from this book! It taught me I can do anything I want, only if I believe in myself. I even did a book report on it, and got an A+! Great for kids who have self doubt and need something to help them get through!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book alot. I thought it was gonna be alot better though. It took a while to get right to the point described on the back of the book. But, still i liked this book alot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lloyd Alexander is my favorite author of all time and is an extremely talented writer. His writing style is so easily likeable. Unfortunately, this book was highly disappointing. Yes, it was well-written as are most of Mr. Alexander's books, but it lacked a strong plot and was almost meaningless. It was terribly short (no i wasn't expecting a 700 page novel, but only 195 pages!? For cryin' out loud!) The characters were pretty original, but not very captivating. The story sort of drags on groundlessly and then finally ends when it reaches 195. Mr. Alexander, if you are reading this, with all due respect, you really are my favorite author. This is my least favorite of your works, but if you really want to capture readers' attention, write a follow up series to the Prydain Chronicals!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much. I have read some of his other works and I must say that this is one of the best book Alexander has written. Rich with detail, this book left me wanting more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of Lloyd Alexander since I happened upon his Prydian Chronicles as a grade schooler. I have read everything he has written, and this has to be one of his best. I don't understand why it hasn't sold better. Lidi is a wonderful heroine, his best, I think. She is drawn with reality and tenderness, and an empathy that Alexander is occasionally lacking for his female characters. Beautiful narration and description. Highly recommended.