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The Savage ISBN: 9781406308150
Almond, David and McKean, Dave
Published by Walker Books Ltd, 2008
When Blue Baker's father dies suddenly, his happy family is shattered. Little sister Jess is still very young, but Blue suffers hugely, and all Mrs. Molloy, the school counsellor, can suggest is that Blue should write down how he feels. In fact, he does just that, but not in a way he can share with Mrs. Molloy. Instead, he conjures up a savage in his story, a wild-living boy who eats berries and raw rabbits (and sometimes people), who can't talk and who uses knives and an axe with abandon. The story within a story is painted with grim detail in lurid panels of black and green, with Blue's mis-spelled but rivetting text in between. Hopper, the seriously unpleasant bully from school, is seen by the Savage to be evil, and 'he hated him strate away...and he gript his nife tite.' The denoument, when we come to see that Blue and the Savage are one and the same, is as gripping as that tightly held knife. Or are they quite the same? Did Blue actually attack Hopper in his bed at night, or had he conjured up a spirit to do what he so longed to do himself? It doesn't matter. Blue has begun to come to terms with his dad's death, and he has routed the bully as well. This is a stunningly good, short novel, the illustrations equaling the text in the strangest and most intense way. Almond's as always vivid and unusual story is moving and imaginative in equal measure. A hugely satisfying read.
Age: 10+