THE HANDLE AND THE KEY by John Neufeld

THE HANDLE AND THE KEY

Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Dan has been adopted into the Knox family, a time that should be filled with happiness, but the reality is that it’s filled with confusion, jealousy, and outright hostility. Shuttled from one foster family to the next, Dan has spent most of his short life on the move. He was lucky enough to be adopted once, but his memories hint that it was a less than nurturing environment. Now that he has finally come to his new home, he is unsure of what he’s supposed to do. He has no experience at playing, making him an outcast at recess, and his memories of abuse cause him to drift in and out of the present in school. He observes all that’s around him with a detachment that seems to suggest that he has dealt with his fears by maintaining some distance from those in his life. Fragile and confused, Dan attempts to “learn the rules” from what he sees, but he reacts as if watching a play that he cannot completely comprehend. Luckily his new mother and father seem to have a great deal of experience with children both professionally, as psychologists, and personally, as parents of Mary Kate, their precocious and stubborn older daughter. Shy and troubled, Dan must find his role in this new life and learn to trust the people in his new family. Thoughtful and honest, Neufeld, author of the classics Lisa Bright and Dark (1969) and Edgar Allen (1968), uses a fascinating perspective to explore the challenges associated with adopting an older child and the effects that it may have on the children already in the family. Unsettling and memorable. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8037-2721-6
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2002




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