Newbery 2007

In my opinion this is a profound book as themes and threads are intertwined at many levels. On the surface there is adventure, detail and day to day life from a child’s point of view. Look further and we find a myriad of issues such as the loss of a parent, friendships, finding the ‘higher power’, coping with a desolate and dusty life style not to mention that the characters are each grappling with growing up. Through the story we witness the children supporting one another and we are often reminded of the challenges children face.

What is so delightful is the very way in which the author reasons like a child and gives voice to the fears and anxieties that we may well recognise from our own childhoods. For those of us who work with children it is very true to life - their fears, their sometimes simplistic views, uncluttered, reasoning that sounds quite straight forward. The characters are life like and well painted and provide humour. I especially liked Brigitte as she clearly attempts to speak English, despite her French nationality. Then there is Lincoln who ties knots incessantly. People think he is clueless but as Lucky tells him ‘..but you’re really not’. One such knot, a Ten Strand Round Knot was a gift to her. From that knot she wishes that she too could bring together all the complicated strands in her life and so weave it all into a beautiful neat ten strand knot. This is a delightful image of learning from someone whom others see as ‘clueless’. This is a very short read but it prompted many reflective moments that would be a joy to share with a young reader