Monday, April 21, 2008

The Pull of the Ocean *****

Mourlevat, Jean-Claude. The Pull of the Ocean. Text copyright 1999, Translation copyright 2006.

This book won the French Prix Sourcieres and won the American Library Association's Batchelder Award.

This was a great book but it is only appropriate for the middle grades, not high school.

This novel is basically a re-telling of Tom Thumb in modern times. Tom Thumb is a midget/dwarf. He comes from a family of 7 children-- all of the sets of twins except from himself. His father is abusive and his mother is useless. Tom doesn't speak so everyone thinks he is stupid. He is, however, the smartest one in the bunch and he talks with his eyes and body. One night Tom warns his brothers they are in dangers from their parents and they run away.

The novel is written from multiple points of view, from the social worker that brings Tom home from school at the beginning of the story, people they encountered along the way, and all of the siblings themselves. This change in point of view makes the book interesting and keeps it flowing. It wouldn't be nearly as interesting and compelling if it were told from only one character's perspective.

Highly recommended for middle school.

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