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Circle Within a Circle Hardcover – May 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 139 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry; 1st ed edition (May 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689505981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689505980
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,511,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At 14, Chris has spent the past nine years being shuttled from one foster home to the next, ever since his mother's death from cancer and the car accident that killed his father that same day. After an altercation with a particularly overbearing foster parent, Chris runs away. He hitches a ride with Chopper, a Vietnam veteran, NASA engineer and Chinook Indian en route to a Northwestern beach considered sacred by his tribe. Chopper and other Native Americans join forces to stop businessmen from turning the land into a resort complex, and Chris, too, contributes to the effort. Despite these adventure-story elements, Killingsworth ( Eli's Songs ) squarely focuses on his characters' spirituality and inner growth. The point of view shifts between Chris and Chopper, two lost souls who develop a potent kinship. Chris finds purpose and self-worth; Chopper carries out the mandates of his "visions." Although the prose can be self-conscious--Chopper, for example, sees a heron: "As big as life. In the city. A sign"--it also achieves a meditative dignity and heft. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-9-Killingsworth has good intentions in this novel, but somehow the story falls short of its lofty mark. The premise of an Indian tribe defeating a group of greedy developers against overwhelming odds is intriguing, but readers will be disappointed with the underdeveloped plot and incomplete characterizations. Chris, a 14-year-old orphan fleeing yet another disastrous foster home situation, meets Coyote, a.k.a. Chopper, a Chinook Indian on a mission to stop development of a sacred piece of land. At first it is Chopper who helps Chris by involving him and making him feel a part of something. However, as things progress, Chris finds out more about his new friend and helps him to overcome his difficulties in completing the task at hand. The interjection of Chopper's meditative thoughts lends clarity and direction to the story, but stilted dialogue and a sense that the author is hurriedly trying to wrap things up hinders what could have been a wonderful piece of writing.
Julie Halverstadt, Douglas Public Library District, Castle Rock, CO
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D C J Burkhardt on July 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Although some reviewers here appear quick to dismiss this book, nevertheless it is a valuable one for its target audience. In the long run, what is more important than a troubled kid finding an adult hero/mentor to teach him about values and what is truly worth fighting for, in this case a sacred stretch of land. Far from being "overwrought" as one reviewer stated, Killingsworth's words reflect the passion and commitment kids -- and the world in general -- need a lot more of. This book is strongly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book straight through, almost in one sitting. The professional reviews on the Amazon website do not do it justice.

The book is sometimes poetic, sometimes mystical, at other times slyly humorous. This tale of two wounded souls searching for purpose and direction will engage any heart that is open to wonder and aware of the intricate web of life and nature.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Betz-Zall on November 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Framed as a coming of age story for an orphan, this book really emphasizes the travails of the Chinook man. The boy does step forward when the man needs support, and is more than repaid soon after. I wonder what conversations the author had with modern Native American activists--and what they would think of the relationship between the characters. There's a long tradition of young whites relying on lowly benefactors of color (e.g. Taylor's The Cay); does this one fall within it? The boy's aid does not seem patronizing to me; perhaps this is a step forward. Too bad the book never caught on with librarians and educators.
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