Laura Salas's Reviews > The Wild Book

The Wild Book by Margarita Engle
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's review
Sep 19, 12

bookshelves: children-s, novels-in-verse
Read in September, 2012

I'm a fan of Margarita Engle's work, and there is plenty of lovely writing in this story about Fefa, a young Cuban girl with dyslexia (call word-blindness in Cuba in the early 1900s). Her struggle and eventual victory in learning to read--and, more, to love to read--is about 90% of this book. There is a little bit about a threat to Fefa's family from kidnappers, and Fefa's ability to read saves the day. The reason my rating isn't higher for this book is that I wanted more story. Engle has a beautiful way of going into characters' hearts and minds, but usually there is more external action going on, too. In this one, almost the entire book was about an internal struggle. Still, gorgeous poetry and a book that will inspire many kids, I think.

One poem:

The Beach at Noon

Too much sun, too much sand.
Stingrays, jellyfish, spiny
purple urchins that pierce
my careless feet...

We eat so much fish
that I expect to sprout
shiny fins and a glistening
green tail.

I am tired of drinking
nothing but coconut milk,
tired of cracking crab claws,
tired of brothers throwing sand
and sisters teasing.

Papa says it doesn't matter,
as long as the whole family
is together.
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