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WILD THINGS by Clay Carmichael Kirkus Star


by Clay Carmichael & illustrated by Clay Carmichael

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59078-627-7
Publisher: Front Street/Boyds Mills

After the death of her mentally ill mother, Zoë—tart-tongued and valiant—is adopted by her paternal uncle, artist Henry Royster, and with his help moves toward a more conventional life. The structure is complex, alternating Zoë’s first-person commentary with narration from the point of view of the cat living under Henry’s porch—a technique that provides information and builds suspense without creating spoilers. Girl and cat follow parallel journeys to trust in their present safety and comfort. Strongly drawn characters—Zoë, Henry and the people in their small town—come alive on the pages of this debut novel. There are resonances and echoes of the children’s books important to Zoë—The Secret Garden, Because of Winn-Dixie, The Golden Compass and, a story integral to this tale, The Boy Who Drew Cats. A tribute to the power of story, this is ultimately a tale of hope and redemption. Zoë Royster, peer to the literary heroines she so loves, is as memorable in her own way as the Great Gilly Hopkins, Opal Buloni and Anne Shirley. (Fiction. 9-12)