|Pages/Publication Date:||304 / 2014|
In this fairy tale for readers 8 to 12 from Newbery and Carnegie Medal winner Sharon Creech, a castle on an Italian cliff and the peasant village below are the settings for the intertwined stories of a fussy king and two resourceful orphans named Pia and Enzio, who unexpectedly find themselves employed as royal food tasters.
"Brief, cleverly paced episodes reveal that several fixtures of castle life—the king and queen's respective hermit advisors, and the court storyteller—subtly engineer Pia and Enzio's appointment as royal food tasters, for purposes linked to a stolen pouch found by the children early on.... The engaging, puzzlelike plot will attract readers, as the novel's heady themes, from wisdom to empathy to the fate-changing power of story, prompt them to deeper thought."—Booklist