INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
“Perfection.” –The Wall Street Journal
The bestselling author of Wonder returns with an enthralling adventure about a boy on a quest to rescue his father, with only a ghost as his companion and a mysterious pony as his guide.
Twelve-year-old Silas is awoken in the dead of night by three menacing horsemen who take his father away. Silas is left shaken, scared, and alone, except for the presence of his companion, Mittenwool . . . who happens to be a ghost. When a pony shows up at his door, Silas makes the courageous decision to leave his home and embark on a perilous journey to find his father. Along the way, he will face his fears to unlock the secrets of his past and explore the unfathomable mysteries of the world around him.
R. J. Palacio spins a harrowing yet distinctly beautiful coming-of-age story about the power of love and the ties that bind us across distance and time. With the poignant depth of War Horse and the singular voice of True Grit, this is one of those rare books poised to become an instant classic for readers of all ages.
“A wonderful story of courage. ... It's got the feeling of a modern classic.” —as recommended on NPR by Jorge Lacera
When he's struck by lightning in front of an oak tree an event that doesn't connect much with the rest of the story Silas Bird, the introspective 12-year-old at the center of this meandering 1860 Ohio-set adventure, has the tree's image permanently imprinted on his back. Silas lives with his inventive but reclusive father, a Scottish bootmaker and photographic scientist, as well as a protective teenage ghost named Mittenwool, until three men on horseback arrive at the family's remote cabin to seize Silas's father. When the kidnappers' white-faced Arabian pony appears a few hours later, Silas is sure his father sent it, and rides off to find him, with Mittenwool reluctantly in tow. In the time-warped Woods, he meets a U.S. marshal tracking three outlaws; Silas, certain that they are the same people who took his father, joins him, en route narrating stories of his family's history and encountering ghosts whom only he can see. Though Silas's "I have made my peace with everything" perspective belies his age, Palacio's cued-white characters are simultaneously crusty and charming in their altruistic bravado, and the blend of rambling western, scientific, and paranormal elements mixed with lingering questions about Silas's father's past will appeal to many as the trio underscores how even unlikely friendships can make for strong bonds. Images made from daguerreotypes serve as chapter heads. Ages 10 up.