A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Falcon in the Glass is an absorbing tale of Renzo, a boy of about 13, in Renaissance Italy. Kids will learn a lot about life in that time. Renzo and his friend Letta, a girl the same age, model good, responsible behavior. The violence is infrequent and mostly consists of mentioning blood, but in one scene, injuries are described with some gore. There's no swearing or sexual behavior. Renzo drinks wine once with adults. It's acceptable behavior in context, but he does drink to excess and suffers no direct consequences.
What's the story?
Young Renzo, who lives in Murano, Italy, during the Renaissance, wants to follow in his murdered father's footsteps by becoming a glassblower. But to be accepted as an apprentice he'll first have to pass a difficult test of skill. When Letta starts bringing a small troupe of orphans into the workshop at night to keep them warm, she and Renzo work together to build Renzo's skills enough to pass the test. There's something different about Letta and the orphans, though. They're able to communicate with birds in a special way, and when rumors of witchcraft start, the children are imprisoned. The only adult who can help him is his uncle Vittorio, but Murano's ruling Council of Ten has set an assassin on his trail. Renzo struggles to learn how a man decides what's right: If he tries to help the orphans escape, he'll jeopardize the career his family's so dependent on for survival.
Is it any good?
FALCON IN THE GLASS is an absorbing tale set in 1497 Italy that's rich in historical detail. Despite an awkward beginning, the novel brings the past and the characters believably to life, shifting easily among many different narrators.
Susan Fletcher's prose particularly soars in the few short passages told from a bird's point of view, which will really spark young imaginations. Fletcher doesn't rely on a lot of action or violence, instead using her considerable narrative skills to keep the story moving and the pages turning.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why is historical fiction so popular. How would Renzo's story be different if it took place nowadays?
The author uses a lot of different points of view to tell the story. How might some of the events be told if the same person told the story throughout?
Did the chapters narrated by the assassin change how you felt about him?
- Author: Susan Fletcher
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, History, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
- Publication date: July 9, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 300
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 4, 2020
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