After Joplin’s grandfather dies, she finds an old cookie tin in his bedroom. Inside are pieces of a broken antique platter. The fragments are beautifully painted, each part of a bigger scene—a windmill, trees, some geese, a pond, and the face of a girl about Joplin’s age. She gets the platter repaired and hangs it over her bed.
One night, when she is feeling especially lonely, Joplin wishes that the girl in the picture could be her friend. The next morning, a girl very much like the one on the picture appears in the garden behind their apartment. Her name is Sofie and, just as Joplin wished, they quickly become friends.
But Sofie needs help. She’s trapped in a desperate situation, and the only person with the power to release her died four hundred years before. Still, Joplin is determined to try. With the help of a new friend Barrett Browning, Joplin and Sofie struggle to solve an impossible puzzle and outwit a sinister foe who has secret plans of his own.
Recognition & Awards
A Junior Library Guild selection; Starred review, Kirkus; Starred review, Booklist; Starred review, Publisher’s Weekly.
“While Stanley’s previous fantasy novels . . . had period settings, her latest takes place in contemporary New York City, yet is just as magical. The city becomes the backdrop for events that are as wrenching as a kidnapping and as transcendent as the sudden attainment of a dream. Written with intelligence, verve, and polish, this unusual fantasy takes readers on a journey they won’t want to miss.”
—starred review, Booklist
“With magic and a bit of danger, and touching on themes of family, loss, friendship, misunderstandings, kindness, and second chances, Joplin and Sofie’s story is not soon forgotten.”
—starred review, Kirkus
“Stanley’s clever premise will quickly capture the imaginations of young readers, but it’s Joplin, with her headstrong determination; Sofie, with her soft-spoken resolve; and Barrett, with his enthusiasm and logic, who make this story special, exemplifying true friendship and sacrifice.”
–-starred review, Publisher’s Weekly
“Suspenseful, mysterious, thoughtful, and occasionally melancholic, this is an intricately plotted tale that ultimately connects Sofie to Joplin (and to her mother and grandfather) in a surprising and satisfying way.”
—The Horn Book