Michael Jensen and David Powers King
Scholastic Press, February 2015
When I was very young, I was in 4-H. There were projects. Mine: sewing. Always, sewing. Much to my chagrin, we did not live on a farm. Sewing was difficult. And frustrating. At first. But, I learned. I realized this brand-new way to create and express myself. Also, a pretty handy skill. Like magic!
Imagine my delight (many years later) upon discovering Woven, the rare, needle-in-a-haystack book to spotlight sewing as actual magic. Brilliant concept. Mr. Jensen and Mr. King weave a wondrous yarn, spinning back to a time when royalty and peasants were distinctly different and most certainly did not mingle. On the outside, each class is separate and easily identified. Underneath, unseen…some souls are stitched together; hierarchy be damned.
It’s easy to envision everyone’s enchantment and immediate empathy. The authors unravel overt appearances; the true characters of the noble peasant boy and the prim, proper, petulant princess are displayed. Your heart may feel a tug here and there. Unapologetically honest and open-minded, Nels is as refreshing as an arctic breeze on a sticky-hot summer day when his bafflement turns to frustration as he hears prejudices against the traveling, gypsy-esque Vagas. He flatly informs everyone: “You can’t blame a whole people for one crime.”
(Yes, there’s more.)
Woven is a ghost story. Also, an adventure with wonderful wrestling matches, smashing swords, and an epic quest to free two kingdoms, right countless wrongs and save their own lives. I found Woven to be happy and hopeful without being determinedly cheerful, sickening sweet. It hooked me and carried me along, weaving me right into the fabric of this fantastic and fanciful tale.
Reviewed by jv poore, May 2016.