Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Wild Book

The Wild Book
By Margarita Engle
Harcourt Children's Books, 2012. 133 pages. Fiction.

Young Fefa lives in Cuba in the early 20th century. After being diagnosed by a doctor with "word blindness," an antiquated term for reading disability, she feels like she will never be able to experience the written word. Her eventual success with reading is a hard-won triumph, and Engle's use of verse perfectly suits Fefa's journey. Though Fefa's personal life is the focus, there is some Cuban history woven in- including the threat of wild bandits and kidnapping in her rural neighborhood. The Wild Book is written in careful, beautifully composed poetry. Margarita Engle skillfully uses the metaphor of a blank, unreadable book being transformed into a lush garden of knowledge. This is another good selection from Engle, accompanied by a gorgeous cover illustrated by Yuyi Morales.

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