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DUST by Arthur Slade Kirkus Star


by Arthur Slade

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: April 8th, 2003
ISBN: 0-385-73004-7
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

In this mesmerizing variation of the “stranger comes to town” plot, a Saskatchewan farming community falls under the spell of a mysterious visitor. Only 11-year-old Robert sees through the smoke and mirrors when the newcomer, Mr. Abram, promises to end the area’s drought if the town helps him build a rainmill. Robert’s younger brother, Matthew, disappeared some months earlier, and after the arrival of Mr. Abram, several other children do, too, but the adults quickly become oblivious to the loss. Robert, who immerses himself whenever possible in adventure stories, eventually tries to rescue his brother and break the hold of the devil-like Abram. Magic enters the story in the form of butterflies, frozen statues, and a dust-like substance connected to the soul. Well-chosen imagery, skillfully crafted sentences, and a remarkably effective sense of atmosphere distinguish Slade’s work. Although the two differ in setting and subject, Dust resembles last year’s Tribes in its originality as well as its deft execution. (Fiction. 11+)