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The Shadow Collector's Apprentice
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The Shadow Collector's Apprentice

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  133 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Fans of Holly Horvath and Kate DiCamillo will love this warm, eccentric, and enchanting middle-grade novel.

Peculiar things are going on in the town of Medley over the summer of 1963, but it's hard for twelve-year-old Cully Pennyacre to figure out what it all means. His father has disappeared mysteriously, people don't seem like themselves, and his apprenticeship at Betty'
Paperback, 200 pages
Published April 1st 2012 (first published February 1st 2012)
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Taryn Pierson
Cully Pennyacre lives on an apple farm on the outskirts of a small town with his three eccentric aunts. His mother passed away when he was a child. His father is gone—Cully isn't sure where. All his aunts will say is that he “went to seek his fortune.”

At the beginning of summer in 1963, things are looking up for Cully. He's just turned twelve years old, for one thing, and for another, he's been offered a job as an apprentice at Batty's Attic antique store. Cully is looking forward to making som
The Shadow Collector's Apprentice by Amy Gordon is a mixture of story and magic. Several times I had thought of Harry Potter, though the stories are not at all the same. The mystery began just as I looked at the cover: a shadowy head projected against a wall. What is that?
In the 1960's, Cully Pennyacre finds himself in the guardianship of three unusual aunts on a small apple farm in Medley. Though he loves his aunts, Miggs, Opal, and Inca, he would much rather be with his father, who seems to
The story is about twelve-year-old Cully Pennyacre who is living with his three aunts on a farm after his father disappeared. In that summer of 1963, Cully takes a job as an apprentice at Batty's Attic antique store and things just keep getting stranger. The owner has a hobby that involves collecting people's shadows with a weird contraption. The shadows are later sold to make invisibility cloaks. Every person who loses his shadow begins to behave differently. Cully soon learns what is happening ...more
This was one of the few 2014 WAW nominees I didn't read before voting on the list. But I definitely enjoyed this fantasy. It is all about Cully who goes to work for Batty's Antiques as an apprentice. While there, he finds out Batty is collecting people's shadows and selling them to be made into cloaks so spies can be invisible. But when people lose their shadows, they become the worst version of themselves and that is happening to a lot of people in Medley. I would have voted yes for this, and n ...more
Remington Barnett
This book is about a boy who's mother died and father left to go do something so he was left with his three aunts.when there money is running low he gets a job with a bad man but,he doesn't know this man is bad. The man collects shadows with a weird contraption that takes shadows and makes their bad qualities exaggerated which leaves no rom for their good qualities. At the end of the book his dad comes home and he teams up with some people to take the man down. My favorite part was when he saw h ...more
Cully lives with his three aunts on their apple farm. His dad has been missing/run away for several months now. Cully gets a job at Batty's Antiques and finds out that Batty is doing more than buying old stuff. His hobby is collecting shadows. He has a special machine that can steal your shadow and save it. What does he do with the shadows? He makes invisibility cloaks for spy agencies. It is the height of the Cold War after all and there are spies everywhere. Taking shadows isn't the innocent p ...more
It’s the summer of 1963 in the small, rural town of Medley. Twelve-year-old Cully Pennyacre has lived with his three eccentric aunts for the past 6 months, ever since Cully’s dad, Jack, ran off to seek his fortune. The aunts (Miggs, Opal and Inca) are none too happy that their brother ran off just when finances for their struggling apple orchard business are about all dried up and some drastic action must occur to save all their acres.

Cully feels the financial pressure so he starts working at Ba
I've read so many books this year that JUST fall short of 5-star levels that I'm starting to think it's just me and maybe I should just cut the poor books some slack. I thought this book was very good--genuinely scary at times, but leavened by humor; you develop feelings about (almost) all of the characters and care what happens to them...and the concept is actually ORIGINAL, for crying out loud!

I really can't pinpoint what keeps this from tipping over into 5-star status. Is it the way Scooter
3.5 stars. 2014-5 MT Nominee. I really enjoy Amy Gordon's books; they remind me a little bit of Sharon Creech or Ingrid Law. The down-home style is enjoyable to read, and the characters are well developed. This one is not my favorite...mostly because I lost interest in the technical aspects of shadow collecting and reimigrating. I understand the importance of attempting to make the story plausible, but I was lost. I probably would have been okay without all of the explanation. A cute read noneth ...more
Harry Brake
I loved this for the deeper themes that might not be evident at first. The themes of family, devotion, and value of others comes creeping in as the shadow mystery also appears and disappears, excuse the metaphor. I see a blend of the Sorcerer's assistant, Harry Potter, and elements of Narnia all wrapped up in one. The building of the relationship between Isabel and Cully is endearing and contagious, and yet, I never sensed Cully was above Isabella, while he did have admirers that followed him ar ...more
Lisa Nocita
Cully has turned twelve, school's out for summer, and the local antiquities & oddities shop is hiring a young apprentice, the perfect opportunity for Cully to help his aunts with their mounting debt. Cully lives with his three aunts on the family farm. His grandparents and mother have passed and his father has gone off on a bizarrely timed quest to seek his fame ad fortune. Cully acutely misses his dad but his life is peopled with a host of remarkable characters in the small town of Medley. ...more
With his father missing in the summer of 1963 and the aunts with whom he is living struggling financially, twelve-year-old Cully Pennyacre takes a job at the local antique store to help out. There's something odd about the shop's owner, Batty, and his disturbing habit of collecting the shadows of others. Cully realizes that these shadows may be connected in some way with his own father's disappearance. Middle grade readers with a taste for odd characters and the doings in small towns will certai ...more
Judy Desetti
Although set in the summer of 1963 I did not feel like this one is a historical fiction. I would set the genre as fantasy. Maybe I have been trying to read too many books quickly but this one just did not hold my attention as much as some of my other reads. In this story Cully goes to work for Batty, the antique dealer. Batty collects shadows of people and once your shadow is stolen you are not quite yourself any longer. Cully's dad has gone off and he lives with his 3 aunts on a farm. Meanwhile ...more
The book started off really interesting with mystery and fantasy mixed together. I'm not entirely sure why the book was set during the cold war since it really could have been set during any time period and still worked. Maybe the author felt that spies wouldn't be interested in invisibility today since they have all kinds of special gadgets - who knows. Once the major mystery was more or less solved, though, and the author needed to wrap it up, the book dissolved into a "love conquers all" type ...more
It was interesting. Kinda spookey and definitely fantasy. I liked the characters.
Krista Barbour
A little juvenile for most of my students, but a good read for someone at or a little below grade level. A lot of ideas here-shadow collecting, spies, alternative fuels, father/son relationships. A little unfocused at times, but still an enjoyable plot that many kids, boys and girls, could enjoy.
Jun 20, 2014 PWRL marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-new
Phi- The Classical Reader
Great book! Very mysterious. I was just disappointed that it didn't have romance between two specific characters...
William Allen White middle grades 2014-2015
First line: For the hundredth time, I'm wondering why Jack ran off.

An interesting idea of a book (shadow collecting). The author tried several things (journal entries from Cully's aunts and a 1963 setting) in this book that I don't think came together in a way that made the book really soar.
Mary Ann
To try and help out during a family financial crisis, twelve year old Cully takes a part time job helping out in the town’s antique store. He soon finds out there is more to the job than he wanted and his father may never get home to help the family out. What would happen if you lost your shadow, and how would you get it back are just a few answers that Cully answer in order to save their family’s home and apple orchard
Written by one of my daughter's middle school teachers, which colors my reading of this middle grade novel. I'm going to give it to one of my 6th grade voracious reader guys to get his take.
Julie Goetz
Read this book to help my son with his 6th grade book project. We both had the feeling the the beginning was slow and the end was hurried. Eh
very educational about apples!
This book was cleverly written and quite charming. I especially liked the linguistic elements of the story as well as the philosophical nature of the book. This is definitely a winner.
Sharon Lawler
Really liked the premise of collecting shadows for the spy world, but a large part of the story's middle just dragged. The best part was the the last 20 pages.
YA Lit meets a little mystery and a little sci-fi. Interesting ideas which I'd never heard of before.
Made you want to keep reading it, but children could easily get confused.
Jan 17, 2014 Ann marked it as to-read
Shelves: mt-2015
Mark Twain Preliminary Nominee 2015
Mark Twain Nominee 2014-15
can't say i have read anything like this :)
Very good juvenile chapter book.
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