Serafina and the Black Cloak
Serafina and the Black Cloak
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Series: Serafina Vol. 1   
Annotation: In 1899, a twelve-year-old rat catcher on North Carolina's Biltmore estate teams up with the estate owner's young nephew to battle a great evil and, in the process, unlocks the puzzle of her past.
Catalog Number: #126232
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 2016
Edition Date: 2016
Pages: 292 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-484-71187-4 Perma-Bound: 0-605-94954-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-484-71187-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-94954-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2015013103
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Serafina, daughter of the custodian at the infamous Biltmore Estate, spends her days and nights underfoot of the rich and famous, though she excels at never being seen, hiding in tiny spaces where no one else can fit. One night, she sees a man in a swirling black cape do something terrible to another young girl: he tells her not to fear, wraps his cloak around her, and she disappears, screaming. Serafina is determined not to be next on the cloaked man's list. She meets and makes a true friend in Braeden Vanderbilt, who cares for her deeply, and together they're sure they'll find the truth behind the Man in the Black Cloak. While investigating the eerie goings-on in the forest behind the estate, she discovers the secrets of her own origins and of the things that lurk in the darkness, threatening doom for any who cross them. The historical and social significance of the Biltmore and the Vanderbilts will likely be lost on young readers, but the chills and adventure will still surely please.
Horn Book
In 1899 North Carolina, catlike girl Serafina lives in glamorous Biltmore Estate, unbeknownst to anyone except her maintenance-man father. That changes when she witnesses a fantastical assault from her basement hideaway: a man absorbs a screaming girl into his cloak. To save her, Serafina comes out of hiding and discovers her own strange heritage. Steady suspense mostly compensates for an unwieldy plot.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7 A mystery set at a sumptuous estate, featuring a courageous female protagonist entangled in a hair-raising adventure. It is 1899 and 12-year-old Serafina lives with her Pa in the basement of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Pa had come to Asheville years ago to help with construction and stayed on as a fixer of all things mechanical in the 250-room mansion. For reasons unknown to Serafina, they must keep their nightly lodgings in the basement a secret as well as the existence of Serafina herself. She has developed catlike skills in exploring the vast Biltmore estate and enjoys sneaking through heating vents and other small spaces in order to eavesdrop on staff and inhabitants. Her quiet existence is shattered when she witnesses a strange man dragging a tearful young girl down into the bowels of the vast home. The man is wearing a large black cloak and reassures the young girl that everything is okay. Suddenly, the captive struggles to get away from the man and his cloak appears to come alive. It wraps itself around the terrified child as she calls out for help. Serafina is frozen with fear and before she can react, the girl has vanished. Serafina escapes, thanks to her agility, and discovers the next day that a visitor of the Vanderbilts by the name of Clara has disappeared during the night. More children disappear and it becomes increasingly obvious that Serafina's new best friend, Braeden, is the man in the black cloak's newest target. The story drips with suspense, wrapping readers into the narrative just as easily as the man in the black cloak binds his young victims. Serafina's friendship with Braeden is heartfelt and believable. The ending is tied up too neatly, but that's a minor quibble; most horror and mystery fans will enjoy this book. VERDICT A creepy, suspenseful read that's not quite as dark as the works of Neil Gaiman or Adam Gidwitz. Julie Shatterly, W. A. Bess Elementary School, Gastonia, NC
Word Count: 68,924
Reading Level: 5.9
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.9 / points: 11.0 / quiz: 176402 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.5 / points:17.0 / quiz:Q66696
Lexile: 850L
Guided Reading Level: M


"The story drips with suspense, wrapping readers into the narrative just as easily as the man in the black cloak binds his young victims. Serafinas friendship with Braeden is heartfelt and believable... mystery fans will enjoy this book." School Library Journal

The chills and adventure will surely please. Booklist

Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate.Theres plenty to explore in her grand home, although she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estates maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is:a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmores corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmores owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloaks true identitybefore all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafinas hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.

Read the entire New York Times Best-Selling series!
  • Serafina and the Black Cloak (book 1)
  • Serafina and the Twisted Staff (book 2)
  • Serafina and the Splintered Heart (book 3)
  • Serafina and the Seven Stars (book 4)

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