Liesl's father has died, and she is confined to an attic room by her stepmother, where Liesl daydreams and draws and sorely misses her father. She is very much alone - until one night when a ghost appears in her room.
Will is an alchemist's apprentice, and while his master is unkind and impatient, Will tries his best to do his job, hurrying through the city streets on various errands. The one bright thing in his life is when he hurries down Liesl's street and sees her framed in the attic window. He's never met her, has no idea who she is, but he knows right away that she is a kind person, someone who would never call him nasty names.
When Will makes a mistake during one of his delivery errands, a box of important and powerful magic becomes mixed up with the box that hold's Liesl's father's ashes. An adventure ensues, full of mad escapes, magical mishaps, interfering old ladies, and most important of all, the ghost of a boy named Po.
This is an enchanting story that reads like a fairytale, and the illustrations are a perfect complement to the atmospheric text. There is a touch of humor as well, and while the characters are not very complex, they are certainly engaging. The story itself is one that will hold readers' attention and keep them guessing the outcome until the very end. Young readers who enjoy fantasy, adventure and/or ghost stories will find this one very appealing.
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver; illustrated by Kei Acedera (Harper, 2011