The Vanishing Sculptor, by Donita K. Paul (WaterBrook Press, 2009)
In the land of Chiril, a young woman named Tipper tries to keep the dwindling family estate together. Her father, famed sculptor Verrin Schope, disappeared a long time ago. Her mother claims he talks to her at night, but Lady Peg is scattered at best. Tipper is reduced to selling household furnishings and her father’s beloved statues to meet expenses. It doesn’t help that Lady Peg will buy back everything she sees in the market because it’s “just what I’ve always wanted.”
Verrin Schope reappears—out of thin air—with two companions who will bring smiles of recognition to readers of the author’s DragonKeeper series: wizard Fenworth and his librarian, Librettowit. Tipper, her trusted guardian Sir Beccaroon (a talking Great Parrot), a struggling artist and four minor dragons join them on a dangerous quest.
It seems three of the statues Tipper sold must be reunited… to save her father’s life and the land itself. The questing party is completed by a dragon keeper and four riding dragons.
The novel isn’t all swashbuckling adventure, although these moments do come in satisfying fashion. As with a true quest, it begins with preparation, travel and searching. In the process, it binds this group of diverse characters into a team.
The Vanishing Sculptor is described as “a fantastic journey of discovery for all ages.” It’s rich in language and setting, yet presented in a straightforward young adult style. Wizard Fenworth’s robes shed small creatures whenever he moves, and there are enough bugs to please the young and young at heart.
The tale is also woven with threads of spirituality, truth and character. It’s not a fast read, but very pleasing.
My 12-year-old son and I both enjoyed it. My only complaint is that I took a liking to Hue, the purple singing dragon. Dragons are never pets, but I’d very much like for him to come live with us. My son says this will not happen.
Perhaps I’ll see Hue in a sequel to The Vanishing Sculptor. Donita K. Paul’s first series, DragonKeeper, spanned five books. You can read the first chapter of The Vanishing Sculptor here.