Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Pickpocket's Tale

A Pickpocket's Tale, by Karen Schwabach

Older Children/Historical Fiction

Molly is a young orphan who makes her living as a pickpocket in eighteenth century London. When she is caught and sentenced to transport, she finds herself travelling in the hold of a ship to the American colonies. Because Molly is Jewish, the Jewish community in London has sent word to New York, and a Jewish family there buys her. In the author's note at the end, Schwabach explains that this was common practice, in that the Jewish convicts were at least preserved from having to break Jewish law as they might in a Christian home. In New York, Molly lives with a merchant's family, as their indentured servant, in company with a black slave woman. Even though she is treated well and has more to eat and cleaner clothes than ever before, Molly can think of nothing but getting home to London.

This is an interesting read, written from a different perspective than one usually finds in kidlit. I particularly liked how the author had Molly and her cohorts speak in "flash" the underworld dialect of London. She includes a glossary at the end to help readers decipher the language. The story is full of rich details and descriptions, and the reader is drawn into Molly's world and Molly's concerns. I think this story will find its place alongside other books like Johnny Tremaine. Truly enjoyable.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

Ooh, I really like the cover of that one! :D