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Cover image for Stolen

1st ed.
Publication Information:
Tarrytown, NY : Marshall Cavendish, ©2008.
Physical Description:
158 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Prologue -- Old witch -- Beginning -- Hercules turnip -- Could she be a princess? -- Could she be an animal? -- Could she be Isabelle? -- Going home -- Auntie Isabelle -- Family -- Home sweet home -- Blood thicker than water -- Accusations -- Woods -- Witch's cottage -- Deeper in the woods -- Memories -- Isabelle -- Endings and beginnings.
A girl finds herself running through the forest at the edge of a village with no memory of anything, even her own name, and later learns that she might be twelve-year-old Isabelle, believed to be stolen by a witch six years before.
Reading Level:
860 Lexile.

Ages 10 up.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.6 5.0 125002.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.6 10 Quiz: 45054.


Call Number
Vande Velde

On Order



The same day that the villagers of Thornstowe finally hunt down a witch with a reputation for stealing children, a 12-year-old appears in the woods with no memory of her past. Is there a connection between Isabelle, the girl who doesn't know who she is, and the girl the witch stole six years earlier? One of the few things Isabelle remembers is a chant that keeps running through her head:
Old as dirt,
dirty as dirt.
Ugly as sin,
mean as sin.

Don't let the old witch catch you!
Could Isabelle have been stolen by the old witch of the woods, or has she lost her memory as the result of an accident? And what about the baby the witch stole right before the villagers attacked? Did either the witch or the baby survive the fire the villagers set?
"Isabelle heard no sound beyond the faintest shivering of leaves in a gentle breeze. No sound of pursuit. But surely something was wrong, or she would know who and where she was. So she resumed running. But it wasn't as effortless as before. Her worry weighed her down as she tried to list the things she knew--and found the list of things she didn't know longer by far."

Author Notes

Vivian Vande Velde (born 1951, Rochester, New York) is an American author who writes books primarily aimed at children and young adults. She currently resides in Rochester, New York. Her novels and short story collections usually contain elements of horror, fantasy, and humor. Her book Never Trust a Dead Man (1999) received the 2000 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-A 12-year-old girl is running through the woods with no memory of who she is or why she is running. Her identity is up for speculation throughout the book: Is she a princess? An animal turned into a human? The missing daughter of a couple in the village? All of these possibilities seem to revolve around an old witch who escaped the village mob with a baby the same day the girl appeared in the woods. The woman and her husband are convinced that the girl is their missing Isabelle, taken from the village by the witch six years earlier, but their older daughter, Honey, is skeptical and even hostile in her reaction. As the tale unfolds, some even suspect that the youngster is actually a creation of the old hag who was sent for evil purposes, and Isabelle wonders whether she really wants to know the truth. This is a solid fantasy and mystery that builds in intrigue and suspense as more layers are added to the story. The protagonist's true identity comes as a fantastic surprise and will have readers looking back for clues even as they shudder at the chain of events that brought about her appearance in the woods that fateful day. Like the witch, Vande Velde weaves a spell around her readers with this well-written tale.-Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

(Intermediate, Middle School) A tense prologue in which a witch, stolen baby in tow, eludes an angry, torch-wielding mob transitions to a scene of a girl running through the woods. The intriguing thing about this girl is that readers know more about her than she knows about herself. "The simplest way to begin is to start at the ending: The girl's name was Isabelle." Yet Vande Velde's twelve-year-old main character has neither recollection of this name nor any memories of her past. It's as if she was born in the act of "running through a forest she didn't know, for a reason she couldn't remember." With skillful pacing, Vande Velde adds clues to the mystery of Isabelle's identity. After she is given shelter by an elderly peasant couple and their young adopted daughter, locals begin to suspect that she is the same girl who was abducted from their midst six years earlier, sister to the more recently taken infant of the prologue. While the puzzle's solution isn't as ingenious as its setup, readers will enjoy watching each piece fall into place and discovering who the true villains and heroes of the story are. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Vande Velde combines her trademark spookiness with some of the motifs of fairy taleswitches, magic, stolen childrento explore themes of jealousy and villainy. A young girl of about 12, who can remember nothing of her name or her home, is rescued from the forest. She is soon taken up by a mother who calls her Isabelle and who insists that she is the daughter who disappeared years ago. The same woman's month-old baby was taken by a witch just a day before Isabelle is found, and the connection between the events is cleverly plotted and revealed. The indeterminate, rustic setting of forests, small villages and pre-industrial technology, along with the sturdy and odd, old-fashioned names, add to the folktale quality of the narrative. Questions of identity and the nature of evil run throughout the introspective narrative as the girl struggles to understand herself and her relationship with the worldeven as the selfsame narrative twists and turns its way to a satisfyingly devious conclusion. A quick read; taut and superbly suspenseful. (Fantasy. 9-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The day the old witch's cottage is burned by villagers, a child who doesn't know her own identity appears at Avis and Browley's door, and the couple takes her in. Convinced that she is Isabelle, a little girl that the witch had stolen six years before, Avis and Browley send word to Isabelle's parents that their child is alive. Isabelle's mother, Mady, is certain that the mysterious girl is her long-lost daughter. Father Frayne is hopeful, too, but bitter older sister Honey is skeptical. Surely this 12-year-old whom others claim to be Isabelle is an imposter! Twists and turns abound as Isabelle's true identity is revealed and her life increasingly endangered. Vande Velde, noted for her well-crafted riffs on fairy tales, has written her darkest yet, a story of greed, jealousy, and insidious evil that will haunt the reader for some time to come.--Bradburn, Frances Copyright 2008 Booklist