A Review: The Vanishing Sculptor (Day 2)

Tipper’s heart skipped a beat . . . “I have a feeling,” she said, “that we are going to have a glorious quest. This day is the beginning of a great adventure.”

So declares Tipper Schope, who gladly gives up the responsibility of caring for her family’s estate when her disappearing father reappears after fifteen years — well, mostly. He keeps flickering in and out, and his crotchety foreign companions declare a quest necessary: a search for three missing statues, sold off by Tipper to provide money for essentials, that must be joined to each other before Tipper’s father can stop coming apart and reassembling on a floorboard. Despite the heavy stakes — not only the life of Tipper’s father, but possibly the fate of the world, rests on the quest’s success — the journey begins with optimism, and it largely continues that way.

In The Vanishing Sculptor, billed as “a fantastic journey of discovery for all ages,” Donita K. Paul has created a lighthearted story in which not even tragedies can be too tragic. The world in which Tipper lives is simplistic (the villains look like villains; beautiful people always turn out to be good, even if they’re annoying at first), but imaginative and joyously visual. Paul’s dragons are delightful, her “grand birds” are endearingly grand, and the ramblings of confused or otherwise disconnected characters like Lady Peg and Wizard Fenworth are a constant source of locutionary entertainment. Thrown into it all is a missionary story, as Tipper’s father tries to share his newfound faith in Wulder with his skeptical daughter and their closest friend, the grand parrot Sir Beccaroon.

In short, The Vanishing Sculptor is a good tonic for stressful days and heavy hearts. It reminded me of some of Lloyd Alexander’s more upbeat adventures (think Vesper Holly, not Taran the Pigkeeper), with warm family ties and friendships, fights that aren’t too frightening, and lessons that go down easily. Though at times I found the prose choppy, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish. In a genre which often relies on heavy themes and gathering darkness, that can’t be said about every book. It’s entirely true of this one.

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NOTE: I’d intended to post an interview with Mrs. Paul today, but it’s not in yet (she’s been rather busy, attending the ACFW Conference and winning an award for Mentor of the Year among other things), so I hope to post it tomorrow. If not, you can expect more ramblings from me of the usual kind on some theme connected to the book :).



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7 responses to “A Review: The Vanishing Sculptor (Day 2)”

  1. Rachel Avatar

    Thanks, Julie! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Phyllis, “optimism” is a great word to describe it. This book reminded me that reading can be just plain fun. So much of what I read is heavier, and I think it’s important to deal with heavier themes, but happiness is important, too.

    I’m posting an interview with Donita later this morning in which she talks about the role and importance of humour. I really liked her comment on this!

  2. Phyllis Wheeler Avatar

    “It was a thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish. In a genre which often relies on heavy themes and gathering darkness, that can’t be said about every book. It’s entirely true of this one.”

    You have really summarized the nub of the matter. What makes this book stand out is its optimism. It is delightful to read.

  3. Julie Avatar

    I enjoyed reading your response to this book! It’s a great read! 🙂


  4. Rachel Avatar

    And thanks, Becky :). I do enjoy rambling.

  5. Rachel Avatar

    Thanks for letting me know, Mrs. Paul! I just resent them, though I’m a little concerned that my e-mails may not be getting through to you. If you don’t get them, can you let me know here? We can try to figure out some other way to get them to you!

  6. Donita K. Paul Avatar

    Aaack! I can’t find the questions, Rachel. I have no idea if I answered them. Please resend them.

  7. Rebecca LuElla Miller Avatar

    Well, your “ramblings” are all worth the read, Rachel. Good review. I also find the light tone of the book an enjoyable change of pace.


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