From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-The Silent Boy (HM, 2003) by Lois Lowry (The Giver, Number the Stars) recounts the early 20th century childhood of Katy Thatcher and her special relationship with an autistic boy. Lowry subtly recreates the lifestyle, customs, and attitudes of the time period, weaving well-researched details seamlessly into the narrative. Told as a flashback by an elderly Katy, this poignant work of historical fiction is read superbly by actress Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Perfect Storm). Her gravelly yet soothing voice perfectly suits the elderly Katy Thatcher. Allen captures the playful innocence of young Katy, the patience of her deep-voiced father, and the quiet strength of her mother, while her voice is weighted by years of sorrow. There are a handful of awkward moments in the flow of the reading, but not enough to detract from the story. Background music plays at the close of the final chapter. The overall aural quality is excellent. Middle school girls will especially appreciate this insightful and compelling audiobook. While well-handled, the tragic ending may upset younger or more sensitive listeners.Leigh Ann Rumsey, Penn Yan Academy, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the
Audio Cassette edition.
Gr. 6-10. Antique photographs, printed at the head of each chapter, form the framework of this nostalgic family story set in the early twentieth century. Precocious eight-year-old Katy Thatcher already knows that she wants to be a doctor like her father. She lives in a large, comfortable house in a New England town with her loving, smart parents and Peggy Stoltz, a farm girl who helps with housework. Katy loves Peggy, and she's intrigued by Jacob, Peggy's brother, a gentle, silent 13-year-old with a fondness for animals, who is "touched in the head." During a happy year, Katy plays with her friends, accompanies her father on house calls, welcomes a new baby sister, and visits Peggy's family farm, where she learns some of the harsher realities of country life--including the fact that kittens are drowned to control their numbers. She also develops a fragile companionship with Jacob, who she often finds visiting her family's horses. It's in the Thatcher barn that Katy stumbles across a secret that, when later revealed, shakes several families and ends tragically; a baby dies and Jacob is at fault. The photographs of characters and scenes add an interesting, if sometimes contrived, touch, and Lowry's graceful, lively prose is dense with historical details that, although atmospheric, sometimes focus more on Katy's lifestyle than her story. Katy's first-person voice also occasionally seems too mature. But Lowry still manages to create an appealing character in the curious, unusually compassionate girl, layering her story with questions about how families shape lives and the misunderstandings that can lead to heartbreak. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.