THE ROAD TO AGRA by Almes Sommerfeit
Kirkus Star


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**In order to get help for his little sister afflicted with trachoma, 13 year old leads her down the long and difficult road from their Indian village to the city of Agra. They set off in secret over an obstacle course that is at once hazardous, heart-breaking and humorous, doggedly followed by their faithful pooch, Kanga. Aside from the wild cobras, hunger and fatigue, there is the danger of being captured by the police since a town merchant has mistakenly branded the two as thieves. Yet there are also marvelous adventures in store -- a ride on a Maharajah's elephant, for instance. They drag themselves into Agra weary but happy only to find that because of overcrowding, the medical facilities are unavailable to them. From out of nowhere the gray elephant of Lalu's vision appears -- only in the form of a gray jeep manned by a UNESCO unit which offers the children help. This is much more than an absorbing adventure. It is a superb, unsentimental portrait of India today, especially of its children, whose grim reality is softened only by the old legends and religious beliefs that provide a unique source of strength. A beautifully composed story serves also to remove the veil of mystery that surrounds these strange and marvelous children.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1961
Publisher: Criterion