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Mamba Point [Kindle Edition]

Kurtis Scaletta
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.99
Kindle Price: $5.98
You Save: $1.01 (14%)
Sold by: Random House LLC


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Book Description

When his dad gets a job at the U.S. embassy in Liberia, twelve-year-old Linus Tuttle knows it's his chance for a fresh start. Instead of being his typical anxious self, from now on he'll be cooler and bolder: the new Linus.
But as soon as his family gets off the plane, they see a black mamba--one of the deadliest snakes in Africa. Linus's parents insist mambas are rare, but the neighborhood is called Mamba Point, and Linus can barely go outside without tripping over one--he's sure the venomous serpents are drawn to him. Then he hears about kasengs, and the belief that some people have a deep, mysterious connection to certain animals.
Unless Linus wants to hide in his apartment forever (drawing or playing games with the strange kid downstairs while his older brother meets girls and hangs out at the pool), he has to get over his fear of his kaseng animal. Soon he's not only keeping a black mamba in his laundry hamper; he's also feeling braver than ever before. Is it his resolution to become the new Linus, or does his sudden confidence have something to do with his scaly new friend?
From Kurtis Scaletta, author of Mudville, comes a humorous and compelling story of a boy learning about himself through unexpected friends, a fascinating place, and an extraordinary animal.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Linus and his family have moved to Monrovia, Liberia, where his father works for the U.S. embassy. Shy and anxious, the 12-year-old keeps seeing a friendly black mamba, one of the deadliest snakes in the country, and he discovers that he has a kaseng, a connection with this particular animal. As weeks pass, Linus begins to treat the snake as a pet, hidden from everyone, and he feels that he is changing, becoming more confident and bold, perhaps taking on the mamba's characteristics. When he sets up a dry terrarium in his closet for it, he forgets that he is putting others in danger. With parents away, his older brother locks him out because he is having a party, and the inevitable occurs. Fortunately all ends well. In this absorbing novel, Linus is trying to find out who he is so he can leave behind the anxious child he recognizes in himself. Set in 1982, the novel portrays life in an American embassy, separate from and yet part of a city quite different from mainstream America. Scaletta writes about Monrovia in real terms, a city whose people, like those everywhere, span many income and social groups, but where poverty is a constant. The novel also looks head-on at various stereotypes of Africa. Though this well-written work occasionally moves slowly, the excellent characterization and the unusual setting will appeal to many readers.Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

After his family moves from Dayton to Liberia for his father's American Embassy job, 12-year-old Linus sees an opportunity to reinvent himself and become more confident, less fearful. Although he is initially scared when a rare, deadly black mamba appears, the snake doesn't harm him, and Linus soon finds himself increasingly attached to it. After secretly bringing it home, he finds himself growing more assertive. Then the snake escapes from his room, and the near-tragedy that ensues reminds Linus that the mamba is still a wild animal, and he must do what's right and admit responsibility, despite the difficult consequences. Scaletta (Mudville, 2009) has created an appealing, well-written protagonist whose everyday and extraordinary experiences—from sibling and adjustment issues to his intriguing, mysterious connection with the snake—change his life in unexpected, positive ways. With lively, sometimes droll touches and a well-constructed 1980s setting, the engaging first-person narrative and array of diversely drawn characters further enliven the novel, which concludes with a personal author's note that provides more story background. Grades 5-8. --Shelle Rosenfeld

Product Details

  • File Size: 430 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375861807
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (July 13, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4CXE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #665,196 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book for all ages! July 16, 2010
By Bambili
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Okay. I have to admit off the bat that I was born and raised in Monrovia, Liberia. Nonetheless, the American Embassy kids were always something of a mystery to me, although we attended the same school for the most part. At any rate, this story of Linus, mambas and Monrovia resonated in a completely different way than I thought it would. Yes, it is a story about being moved from Dayton, Ohio to Monrovia, Liberia. And yes, it is a story of mambas. But more than these, it is a universal story of how we all try to reinvent ourselves when we get a fresh start. I am a female, but I completely identified with Linus in his quest to move from dork to cool. Like most of us, he ends up somewhere in between and, in the process, learns a lot about himself, life and relationships. I loved this book. Incidentally, while everyone else was waiting for the bookstores to open, my pre-ordered copy downloaded onto my Kindle the instant publication was official.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Moving to Liberia, Africa, seemed like the perfect time to become a new person. At least that is what 12-year-old Linus Tuttle believed. After his father is transferred to the U.S. Embassy in Liberia, Linus has the opportunity to start in a new school, meet new people, and be whoever he wants to be. Gone is the shy and timid Linus. In his place is a bold, new Linus that isn't afraid of anything. Except snakes, of course --- especially extremely poisonous snakes, like the black mamba, one of which greeted him as he stepped off the airplane. One little snake isn't going to stop him from being a brave new person, is it?

Linus wishes he could be more like his older brother Larry, or Law, as he goes by now. Law is old enough to hang out at the club in the U.S. Embassy and instantly seems to have a tight group of friends. He also appears to be trying everything from smoking to drinking to hanging out all night. Linus isn't sure what to make of his brother's actions, but the few times Linus attempts to spend time with Law and his friends, Linus is quickly shoved into the background. This doesn't sit well with the new and improved Linus.

Instead, Linus focuses his attention on his problem with snakes. He steps outside, and black mambas seem to follow him wherever he goes. This freaks him out at first, but as he spends more time in Africa, he learns more about Kasengs. A Kaseng is when you have a strong connection with an animal. The animal will respond to the person, and in turn, the person will start exhibiting some of the animal's behavior. So instead of hiding from the black mamba, Linus welcomes it into his life. Soon he is keeping a black mamba in his laundry hamper, and starts being brave and courageous, just like the black mamba.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous. July 21, 2010
I loved this book. Kurtis Scaletta does such a great job of capturing the tortured and tortuous mind of a 12 year old boy, all mixed with a snapshot of Liberia in the 1980s and the mysticism of West African society. Mamba Point is funny and poignant and triumphant, all at the same time. I devoured it in almost one sitting.
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This is a well crafted story about a boy and his family who move from Ohio to Monrovia, Liberia. The boy is insecure and deathly afraid of snakes. He learns to befriend a snake to overcome his fears and become a bolder person. He makes friends, helps others with troubled situations, causes a few conflicts of his own, and learns a lot about another culture and land. Good character development, area description, cultural elements, and the story keeps moving along. It was hard to put this book down. Note: If you're uncomfortable with snakes, don't make the mistake I did and read the last few chapters right before bed!
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More About the Author

Kurtis Scaletta is the author of several books for young readers including Mudville, which was short listed for the Mark Twain Readers Award, and The Tanglewood Terror, which was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. He lives in Minneapolis with wife and son and some cats.

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