In the world of Lisa Graff’s new book, A Tangle of Knots—a world not all that different from our own—people are often born with a Talent. That special skill might be something as grand as being able to float on air, but mostly the Talents involve everyday activities like whistling, knitting, climbing trees or baking cakes.
Cake-baking is Cady’s Talent, and she can tell what cake is best for each person she meets. Eleven-year-old Cady has grown up in an orphanage in Poughkeepsie, New York, and while the orphanage’s owner, Miss Mallory, has a Talent for matching homeless girls with new parents, she hasn’t been able to find the right match for Cady.
That changes, however, when Miss Mallory meets Toby, the driver of a truck that veers off the road on a foggy day and lands on the orphanage’s front lawn. Toby doesn’t seem to have a Talent, but he does have a mysterious past.
Told from multiple points of view, Graff’s magical tale has so many interesting characters whose lives weave in and out and around each other that we wonder whether she will ever get them to come out right in the end. To make a long story short: She does. A former children’s book editor and author of five previous middle grade novels, including Double Dog Dare and Sophie Simon Solves Them All, Graff infuses the story with humor and rich detail.
Part mystery, part magic, part cookbook (with recipes included), A Tangle of Knots has a great deal of fun in store for young readers as they turn each page and wonder what in the world could happen next. Will the owner of the Lost Luggage Emporium ever find the suitcase he has been searching for? And what is in it? Who is the mysterious lady with no name? What happens when Marigold accidentally mails off her little brother in a package? Will Cady find a home with Toby? And what’s going to happen to Miss Mallory if she does?
Graff’s entertaining story pulls all the threads together—detangling knots, yes, but also making a tapestry as she goes.