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Mamba Point Paperback – September 13, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 650L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037585472X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375854729
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #943,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

Customer Reviews

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Yes, it is a story about being moved from Dayton, Ohio to Monrovia, Liberia.
Bambili
The thing to do now is to order Mamba Point and read it without letting me tell you anything further.
Robert Kent
Kurtis Scaletta offers a different and interesting perspective on growing up and reinventing oneself.
KidsReads

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bambili on July 16, 2010
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 By KidsReads on July 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 By H. Cooper on July 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
Mamba Point is a tightly wound tale that will make you laugh, hold you in suspense, and have you checking underneath your bed to make sure there aren't any mambas slithering about. I had not one, but two dreams about mambas while reading it.

So here's my review: two thumbs way up, five out of four stars, on a scale of 10, it's an eleven, insert your own hyperbole. The thing to do now is to order Mamba Point and read it without letting me tell you anything further. Have I ever steered you wrong before, Esteemed Reader? Don't bother reading the rest of this post, just buy your copy: Mamba Point.

The thing is, the less you know about Mamba Point going into it, the better. I'm going to try not to spoil the book for you , but inevitably I probably will give some of it away and I'm sure a few of you Esteemed Readers are still reading without having first bought and read it (shame on you). I had the good fortune to read this book without knowing anything going in other than Kurtis Scaletta is a very nice man who gave me a signed copy of his book, and that is the way to experience Mamba Point, because it knocked for a loop (mostly because some jerk blogger didn't tell me all about it beforehand).

All right, I gave you a whole paragraph to stop reading and now I'm starting the summary. This is the first line of Mamba Point: "My brother changed his name on the plane ride to Africa." What a great opening line, yeah? It's exciting, it's provocative, and it sets up the story at once. It's 1982 and Larry, now Law, Tuttle and his brother Linus (there are plenty of blanket and Snoopy jokes) are on a plane to Africa where they will be living near the US embassy in a place called Mamba Point. But not to worry.
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