The Silver Donkey
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The Silver Donkey

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  561 ratings  ·  72 reviews
"This tender fable of peace will linger with both younger and older readers." — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)

One morning in France during World War I, two young sisters stumble upon an astonishing find in the woods: a soldier who has walked away from battle longing to see his ailing younger brother. As the girls care for the soldier, he repays them by telling four tal...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by Candlewick (first published January 1st 2004)
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Qt
Apparently simple, but so beautifully done, with lovely and haunting writing. There are some sad scenes--some very sad--but I thought it was really a very moving book. Not everyone will agree with all the points, I think, but it was very touching and well-done.
Chris
Sep 20, 2007 Chris rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anybody who enjoys little stories with big effects
simply magic!

the language makes you want to read it out loud - poetry. I especially enjoyed the tail of the donkey on the mountain.

and i found out later that it also includes a Christmas tale!
Virginia Walter
Sonya Hartnett just received the Astrid Lindgren prize, an award that carries a large cash prize along with the honor. I had never read anything by this Australian author so I put in some reserveds at LAPL. This was the first book to come through. It is nearly an allegory, a story about an English soldier who has been blinded not by a physical wound but by the trauma of the sights he has seen in the trenches and on no-man's land. He has deserted the battlefield and is trying to get across the En...more
Karl
5/5 This book is simply magical. It taps deep down to the core of being a child and learning the values of life. I really liked this book so much. For it did not only made feel luke a child again but made me think whats more important other than self. I feel very lucky to have accidentaly found this one in a second hand bookstore in delicately immaculate condition. It is as good as new. Moreover, the story itself is a hidden gem. Worth reading and passing to others. ;)
Margie
A gentle story set against the backdrop of World War I in France tells of a blind, emotionally battered soldier who leaves the battlefields behind. He is found in a nearby wood by 2 young sisters who befriend him and do their best to assist him. He is determined to return to England, across the Channel, to see his younger brother who is very ill. The sisters come to realize they will need more help and take their older brother into their confidence. He comes up with a plan which will require the...more
Olivia
I picked up a first edition, signed by the author, haven't read it yet but I love Sonya Hartnett and do think she is a seminal Australian writer, who will be remembered forever.
Paige
Lovely read. Will have to reread for further analysis for my university requirements, which I don't mind at all!
Yajur jayaprakash
was mind blowing! made me cry...
Lora
The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett is about two young French girls, Marcelle and her sister Coco, during World War One. One day, while walking through the forest, they stumble upon a soldier who had run away from the war to join his sick and dying little brother back in England. Lieutenant Shepard, the soldier, had slowly lost his ability to see while making the trek from the front lines of battle to the coast of France, and all he had to his name were the clothes on his back, his army-issue bo...more
Natalie
*Closes book slowly, making soft sniveling noises*
Um, this is really not the time to rephrase HISHE quotes but seriously - This is really deep for a kid's book.

The book, phrased for ages ten and up (maybe in Australia ten-year-olds are just super mature?), is set in a small village in France near the border of England, mid-WWI. Three siblings, a thirteen-year-old boy named Pascal and his two younger sisters, Marcelle and Coco, discover an English soldier on the desertion-run. The blind man tells...more
Teegan
This book Is about two sisters Coco – eight years old and Marchelle - 10 years old. When they were walking home from school one afternoon they found a person in the forest with something shiny in his hand. As it turned out the man that the two sisters had found a soldier to be exact a lieutenant. He had run away from world war 1 to see his little brother who has been terribly sick. Coco and Marchelle promise to keep him a secret because if the wrong person found out about him they would tell the...more
Erin
Imagine what it would be like to be at battle and lose all the people you came to love. And not only that, but to lose your vision too. In the book “The Silver Donkey” by Sonya Hartnett two little girls named Marcelle and Coco meat a soldier in the woods. He used to be a well-liked lieutenant, but when his men died and his vision left, he had to retreat home. There was a huge river he had to cross and because of his sight he needs these two girls and their brother to help him greatly. I liked t...more
Marie Voo


Again, another book I found at a dollar store. The title alone, The Silver Donkey, intrigued me. It had a sort of mystery to it, so I bought it.

This book is staged in the times of war. Where soldiers came home in a box or not at all. However, two sisters, Coca and Marcel come across this soldier in the woods. His clothes are torn looking. He is nestled by a tree with only a blanket to keep him company. The girls friend him and the stories within the book start from there.

A significant marker...more
Corinne
A story-telling soldier, trying to go home in the midst of a war, is found in the woods by two children. This charming and mild book gives us at glimpse at his life and choices while the children try to decide what to do and how to help. Donkeys are the thread between the soldier's stories, teaching the children the qualities that make thoughtful and courageous adults.

I can't decide if it's children's literature or young adult literature. The writing isn't juvenile, just sparse and direct, and v...more
Brittany Lee
Genre- International
Grade Level- 3-4
Awards- Children's Book Council of Australia Award for Book of the Year: Younger Readers (2005), Canberra's Own Outstanding List (COOL) Awards for Fiction for Years7 - 9(2007),CBC Book of the Year Award: Younger Readers
This was a wonderful book discussing how two younger girls found a man from World War I in France and wanted to help him see his ill younger even though he was not in good shape himself. This book could be a way to teach the students how to help...more
Denise
When I finished reading this book I was so glad Marcelle and Coco found the soldier in the woods because if they didn't find him he could be dead by now. First of all Marcelle and Coco thought that the soldier was dead but he was actually blind. Many of days past Marcelle and Coco helped the soldier by stealing food in their house. Coco kept on looking at the silver donkey on the soldiers other hand while he ate. After a few days, Coco kept on asking him for the silver donkey but it was time for...more
Shandi Hibbert
The Silver Donkey is about two girls who come across a soldier in the forest during WWIi. The girls keep the soldier a secret and befriend him. He tells them a collection of stories about the bravery and loyalty of a donkey.
This story was cute. It's wasn't necessarily deep or awe inspiring, but I did really enjoy it. The stories about the donkey had great messages and I kept thinking about when I would use them in my life.
Spoilers: Rate 1-5. 1 being none and 5 being a lot.
Language: 1. I don't...more
Nicki Blomquist
It may be that I listened to this book on audio that I found myself not liking it very much. The French accent was difficult to get used to. If I find myself with another opportunity to read this book I will definitely pick it up and read it myself.

This story takes place in France during WWII. A soldier who has abandoned his unit is found by two little girls. The girls immediately want to take care of this blind, hungry man, who can't fend for himself. After a few days they realize their task i...more
babyhippoface
Siblings in the French countryside are thrilled to discover a wounded soldier and war deserter in the woods near their home. As they secretly bring him food and help plan a way to get him safely back to his homeland England, he tells them stories inspired by the beautiful silver donkey he keeps in his pocket. This is a tender, quiet novel about bravery, compassion, the horrors of war, and hte healing of hearts. The black and white pencil sketches echo the rich language of the story in their simp...more
Natalie
This story was touching and written so beautifully that I wished for more. It is a short, fairly quick read, and so very worth it.
James Flanagan
No. I'm not crying. There's just something in my eye.
Anastasia
The Silver Donkey is a quiet tale of a soldier deserting the war and of the children who find him and keep his secret. The story grows slowly and deliberately towards darker and darker themes, but the style--tales told by the soldier to the children interspersed with the frame story of the soldier himself--allows these tales to be told in an emotionally powerful fable form. The anchoring object, the silver donkey, draws all the stories together with a gentle message of appreciation for those who...more
Nigel
A beautifully written touching story.
Jeannie
This simple story is filled with amazing Christian allegories. Great for the Christmas season. Yes, Virginia, there is a reason to believe in bravery and truth! One warning, the story, although not especially violent or gory, my be tough for families with an immediate family member deployed or ready for deployment as one of the main characters, an escaping soldier relives some of the horrors of war. If your family is not in that situation, gather all around for a great read aloud that will have...more
Sonia
This is a story about young French children who find a British soldier hiding in the woods during WWI. They feed him and scheme to help him get home, and he tells them stories about donkeys. Every single one of the four stories about donkeys made me cry.

Yes, you can read this as heavy-handed Christian allegory. But I prefer to read the donkeys as donkeys, and that's why I cried.

It's kind of amazing how much the trench-warfare feeling still has a hold on current fiction--powerful even when resear...more
Jackie
A very sweet story about children who find a soldier in the woods. He has been blinded by the war, but his blindness is not physical. In his pocket he carries a keepsake. A silver donkey. He tells the children stories that feature this keepsake - stories of kindness, loyalty, bravery & selflessness.

This made me feel all warm inside as it reminded me of books Mum read to me as a child.
Angie
A beautiful children's novel set on the northern coast of France during WWI. Sisters, Marcelle and Coco, discover a soldier in the woods behind their home. Over a number of days, the soldier shares marvellous tales about the humble donkey in exchange for the girls' company. I loved the story about the soldier and the children, but the tales about the donkeys were equally as enchanting.
Joyce
Am reading it aloud to my 7 year old....we'll see if it's to mature for her.

She enjoyed it and so did I, but we enjoyed the experience of reading together more than the book itself. A little too many religious overtones for something I thought that, well, wasn't. We read this months ago, so this was the only thing that left an impression on me.
Krista
During WWI two French girls find a blind English soldier in the woods. He is trying to make his way home to his sick brother. During a few days the girls feed him, he tells them of stories about donkeys and how they are humble and brave. He remembers the war and trys to compare human charateristics to the donkeys.
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Sonya Hartnett (also works under the pseudonym Cameron S. Redfern) is, or was, something of an Australian child prodigy author. She wrote her first novel at the age of thirteen, and had it published at fifteen. Her books have also been published in Europe and North America. Her novels have been published traditionally as young adult fiction, but her writing often crosses the divide and is also enj...more
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