In this poignant and captivating story, two sisters find a wounded soldier in the woods. They take care of him, and in return, he tells them four beautiful tales about a humble donkey. This is a moving story of war and peace, devotion and compassion — the perfect story for adults and children to read together. Recommended By Richard C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From extraordinary novelist Sonya Hartnett comes a gently told fable of a lost soldier, heroic children, and a steadfast donkey.
One morning in the woods of World War I France, two young sisters stumble upon an astonishing find — a soldier, temporarily blinded by war, who has walked away from battle longing to see his gravely ill younger brother. Soon the care of the soldier becomes the girls' preoccupation, but it's not just the secret they share that emboldens them to steal food and other comforting items for the man. They are fascinated by what he holds in his hand — a tiny silver donkey. As the girls and their brother devise a plan for the soldier's safe passage home, he repays them by telling four wondrous tales about the humble donkey — from the legend of Bethlehem to a myth of India, from a story of rescue in war to a tale of family close to the soldier's heart. Sonya Hartnett explores rich new territory in this inspiring tale of kindness, loyalty, and courage.
"Hartnett's (Surrender) latest offering, set in France during the Great War, is at once delicately told and deeply resonant. When two sisters, eight-year-old Coco and 10-year-old Marcelle, discover a blind and hungry soldier in the woods, they befriend him, bringing blankets and bits of food that can be pilfered from their meager pantry. The girls are delighted with their secret soldier, and Coco is particularly enchanted with his good luck charm, a silver donkey. They are reluctant to tell anyone about this unhappy man in the forest until they realize they alone cannot help him return to his home across the channel his one desire after all he has seen in the war. They enlist the help of their older brother, Pascal, whom they believe is clever enough to hatch a plan. In turn, the soldier tells the children allegorical tales about honesty, loyalty, courage and kindness drawn from the Bible, folklore and his own life all featuring a donkey. Though Pascal yearns to hear about the 'riveting adventures from the war,' the soldier's story of a donkey's sacrifice and goodness in battle conveys a wholly different message. The novel's nostalgic tone evokes the period but also delivers a timely message. This tender fable of peace will linger with both younger and older readers. Ages 10-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This gently told fable of a lost soldier, heroic children, and a steadfast donkey explores rich territory in a tale of kindness, loyalty, and courage.
About the Author
Sonya Hartnett is the acclaimed author of THURSDAY'S CHILD, WHAT THE BIRDS SEE, STRIPES OF THE SIDESTEP WOLF, SURRENDER, and several other novels. She has won many awards, including the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award for THE SILVER DONKEY. Sonya Hartnett lives in Australia.
Don Powers is a fine artist who specializes in portraits and landscapes. THE SILVER DONKEY is his first book for children. He lives in Thomasville, Georgia.