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WILLIAM S. AND THE GREAT ESCAPE by Zilpha Keatley Snyder


by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-6763-7
Publisher: Atheneum

In this poignant adventure story, Jancy, William and their young siblings Trixie and Buddy decide to run away from the abusive home of their father and stepmother. They head for their mother’s sister in hopes of being taken in. The kids are ultimately welcomed by their aunt, but the sweet reunion is likely to be short-lived, since their father wants to haul them back home so that he can collect as much “New Deal” money as possible. While the father remains a looming threat, Snyder lightens the potentially tragic feel of this tale by keeping the focus on the children’s hope for a better future, the adventures that befall them on their journey and, particularly, on William’s budding acting skills and devotion to Shakespeare. This latter element feels a little forced and probably won’t compel readers to join William in his devotion to the Bard. Nonetheless, it works thematically and will likely prompt readers to think about the connection between William’s history and his attraction to the transformative world of the theater. (Historical fiction. 10-14)