A heartfelt if at times emotionally trying addition to the literature promoting better treatment of our fellow animals.

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CHAINED

Can a friendship born in mutual bondage save a boy and an elephant calf in modern India?

When 10-year-old Hastin’s sister Chanda contracts a fever, their mother must take a job in the city with an abusive employer to pay the doctors. In hopes of freeing her from her obligations, Hastin looks for a job for himself. He lucks into a position as an elephant keeper at a faltering circus owned by the seemingly friendly businessman Timir, who hopes to bring the enterprise back to life. The job, in a jungle far from home, turns out to be more indentured servitude than employment. After a time, it is only Hastin’s love and pity for his charge, 2-year-old Nandita, that keeps him from running away on his own. With the guidance of kindly, old Burmese cook Ne Min, Hastin plots to save Nandita from Timir and his cruel elephant trainer, Sharad. Kelly’s fine debut brings the jungles of India to life. She skillfully traces the development of Hastin’s relationships with Nandita and Ne Min while carefully building the boy’s character as he comes of age. Readers may become frustrated that Hastin passes up several opportunities to escape with his elephant friend, but the touching finale will all but make up for that. The cruelty toward both humans and animals is honestly conveyed.

A heartfelt if at times emotionally trying addition to the literature promoting better treatment of our fellow animals. (afterword) (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-374-31237-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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