Synopses & Reviews
What happens when society finds a wild boy alone in the woods and tries to civilize him? A true story from the author of The Fairy Ring.
One day in 1798, woodsmen in southern France returned from the forest having captured a naked boy. He had been running wild, digging for food, and was covered with scars. In the village square, people gathered around, gaping and jabbering in words the boy didnt understand. And so began the curious public life of the boy known as the Savage of Aveyron, whose journey took him all the way to Paris. Though the wild boys world was forever changed, some things stayed the same: sometimes, when the mountain winds blew, "he looked up at the sky, made sounds deep in his throat, and gave great bursts of laughter." In a moving work of narrative nonfiction that reads like a novel, Mary Losure invests another compelling story from history with vivid and arresting new life.
"Believing her subject 'deserves to be remembered as more than a case study,' Losure (The Fairy Ring: Or How Elsie and Frances Fool the World) brings life to the true story of a boy discovered living wild in southern France near the end of the French Revolution. The Wild Boy of Aveyron is captured and escapes several times, eventually ending up at the Institute for Deaf-Mutes in Paris; most of the book's 18 chapters recount his childhood friendship with and intense tutoring by a doctor there. The narrative, woven around quotations from the writings of those who studied the boy, relies on Losure's speculative style to fill in gaps, which she does without overreaching. While the pace is unhurried, a fascinating story (along with large margins and wide spacing) makes this a quick read that becomes more intriguing as it unfolds. An author's note considers the possibility that the boy, later named Victor, may have been autistic and points out how techniques employed to teach him were successfully used with children previously considered unreachable. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 10 up. Author's agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Mar.) Ã¢Â–" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
, author of The Fairy Ring
, has worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio and a contributor to National Public Radio. She lives with her husband in Minnesota.
Timothy Basil Ering is the illustrator of many award-winning books, including Kate DiCamillos Newbery Medal-winning The Tale of Despereaux. He lives in Massachusetts.