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THE BOY WHO ATE STARS by Kochka

THE BOY WHO ATE STARS

By Kochka (Author) , Sarah Adams (Translator)

Age Range: 9 - 14

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-4169-0038-1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

When 12-year-old Lucy meets Matthew, the autistic four-year-old boy who lives upstairs, she’s immediately fascinated. Interestingly, Lucy’s desire to get to know him and decipher his unique way of living in the world parallels her mission to get her parents’ friends’ show dog François in touch with his wilder side. Along the way, she learns from Matthew, various neighbors and even the dog about communication of the heart—without rules, prejudice or language. Kochka explores and attempts to define autism with sensitivity and humor, and the poetic prose is often lovely. Unfortunately, it’s also full of awkward or confusing phrasing (“He cradles himself with words that fly off”; “François was our common link—like a hyphen”); wince-inducing expressions (“silent as a Native American on a trail”; “butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth”); and clumsy intrusions of dictionary definitions of terms from autism (included three distinct times) to sympathy to era. While flawed, or possibly somewhat lost in translation (it was first published in France in 2002), this lyrical examination of autism—and friendship—is certainly heartfelt. (Fiction. 9-14)