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THE SAVAGE by David Almond


by David Almond & illustrated by Dave McKean

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3932-7
Publisher: Candlewick

Fantasy and reality mix in the psychodrama of a fictional feral child who steps out of his story. Grieving over his father’s death, young Blue begins writing privately about a boy who lives in the local wood on raw game and scavenged garbage: “If anybody ever seen him he chased them and cort them and killed them and ate them and chucked their bones down an aynshent pit shaft. He was savage. He was truly wild.” Narrating in a mix of prose passages and slashing, two-color sequential panels depicting a bony, shirtless, knife-wielding lad, Blue describes how, after he puts himself, his little sister and a local bully into his tale, he finds tangible evidence that the wild boy has visited all three as they slept. As a grimacing, gesticulating embodiment of raw emotion in McKean’s pictures, the wild boy makes a visible and effectively unsettling stand-in for Blue’s own emotional turmoil—and indeed, in the climax the alter egos come together for a healing encounter. The art ramps up the intensity of this provocative outing. (Fantasy. 11 & up)