BARKBELLY by Cat Weatherill


by , illustrated by
Age Range: 10 - 12


This decidedly off-beat import combines a unique imaginary world with the flavor of traditional tales and adventure stories to create an engaging, episodic read. Born from an egg and made of wood, Barkbelly knows of no other people like him. Set apart by his strength and rapid growth, Barkbelly’s alienation increases when he causes the accidental death of a playmate. Running from retribution, he journeys to an industrial town where he finds both friendship and hardship. On the run again, he joins a circus troupe and learns about the country of his origin from one of the well-traveled performers there. Determined to find his family, Barkbelly works on a ship, survives a pirate attack, reaches his island home and, ultimately, finds where he belongs. Weatherill’s plotting is delightfully unpredictable but never unlikely. Characterization is brisk but effective and despite the unusual names, it’s easy to tell individuals apart. Like Barkbelly himself, this is a unique creation that will find favor with a small, appreciative readership. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 13th, 2006
ISBN: 0-375-83327-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2006


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