Sarah's Stars

Susannah Appelbaum. The Hollow Bettle (The Poisons of Caux, Book 1)
Alfred A. Knopf $18.99 ISBN 978-0-375-85173-5 256 pg.
Reviewed by Anastasia, Age 11

"Rowan!" Ivy shouted, turning back just in time. "Step away--quick!"

But before he could do so--his nose was just emerging from Axle's book-- his ankles were immobilized by the quick-moving vine, and the plant was rapidly snaking up his leg.

Ivy Manx likes making evil potions; she lives in a kingdom ruled by an evil king. She lives with her uncle, Cecil Manx, after her parents died, and now Ivy wants to be an apotheopath healer just like her uncle. Her best friend is her crow, Shoo. But when Cecil disappears, and the king’s knights die because the ‘beginner’ taster, Rowan, didn't know how to taste for poison, she and Rowan find themselves on the run. The outlaws are close behind, trying to capture Ivy; but Ivy doesn't know why. Will Ivy find her uncle in time?
 
First of all, I like how the book is always interesting; like getting chased by the outlaws, or captured by Clothilde, or meeting the Mildew sisters, and so on. Secondly I like how the cover picture makes you think. Also I like how in Part I it says you have to wonder if the food you’re eating is poisoned, because tasters are a big part in this story, and some of the tasters are horrible at their job, so lots of people get poisoned. Lastly I like how at the end of the book it has a page from the field guide. In the book they use the field guide a lot; like how they were looking up all of the plants at the beginning, then looking up different places and how Axle wrote the secret message "taste and inform."
 
I give The Hollow Bettle a four star rating. This is Appelbaum’s first novel and I think this book is suitable for ages 10-14.

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