Can wood, copper, or marble communicate? They can if they are the graven images in Newbery Medalist Paul Fleischman’s trio of eerie, beguiling short stories. If you whisper a secret into a wooden statue’s ear, will anyone find out? Can a wobbly weathervane bearing the image of Saint Crispin, the patron saint of shoemakers, steer a love-struck apprentice toward the girl of his dreams? And if a ghost hires a sculptor to carve a likeness of him holding a drink to a baby’s lips, what ghastly crime might lie behind his request? And, in an afterword, the acclaimed storyteller reveals how he found his own author’s voice.
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"A pox on the stars!" continued the voice. "Too bright for my liking. Aye, blinding, they are!"
Zorelli studied the speaker in wonder. He was short-legged and burly and missing an ear. Fitfully, he glowed and dimmed, as if he were made of starlight himself.
"You're Zorelli, the stone carver, if I'm not mistaken." His clothes were ragged and glimmered like their wearer, as if they were the dying embers of their former selves.
"And who - or what - are you?" asked Zorelli.
"What am I?" The apparition snorted. "Why, a ghost! What else did you take me for?"
Zorelli stared at the spirit in awe, his hands fluttering like moths. He wondered where Angelina had gone, and had he not been trapped at the end of the wharf he would gladly have fled as well.
"And what brings you - here?" the sculptor stammered.
What brings me here," said the specter, "is you."
GRAVEN IMAGES by Paul Fleischman. Copyright (c) 2006 by Paul Fleischman. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.