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Zulu Dog Hardcover – September 26, 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Hardcover, September 26, 2002
$130.51 $24.49

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Journalist Ferreira's somewhat awkward yet timely first novel centers on 11-year-old Vusi Ngugu, who lives with his extended Zulu family in post-apartheid South Africa. His kin's subsistence lifestyle contrasts dramatically with the privileged existence of the nearby white farmers. One day, Vusi, accompanied by Gillette, the dog he has adopted, ventures onto the land owned by one of the white farmers, "to prove to himself that he is not scared." There he meets 12-year-old Shirley, the farmer's daughter, and the two bond immediately, despite the fact that neither speaks the other's language. The strongest passages center on Vusi and his family, especially Vusi's discovery of Gillette as a pup and their blossoming relationship. Except for a progressive-thinking farmer, Robert Rudolph, many of the sections focusing on white characters become stilted (e.g., "When Shirley gets home that day, she is torn between excitement at the encounter [with Vusi], the fun they had communicating across the language barrier, and trepidation at what her parents would say about a black stranger trespassing on the farm"). Rather forced dialogue from Shirley's father and some of his cronies underscores their bigotry. But the narrative also reveals the economic, social and cultural ramifications of the democratic government under Mandela. Even with the rather heavy-handed message, likable Vusi's coming-of-age tale delivers some affecting scenes and, for readers unfamiliar with South African politics, some eye-opening realities. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-The setting for this story of a boy and his love for his dog is newly independent South Africa with all of its racial prejudice and poverty. Vusi, 11, needs a friend and finds two most unlikely ones-a three-legged dog he names Gillette because his sharp teeth remind him of his father's razor, and Shirley Montgomery, a white girl. Vusi comes from a very poor black family, and his mother makes it clear that there is no spare food for a dog, so he hides his pet. When Shirley runs away to protest her parents' decision to send her to boarding school, all of the neighbors search for her, but it is the dog that finds her, injured and frightened. In somewhat of a fairy-tale ending, Shirley's previously racist father now accepts her black friend, employs the boy's parents, and allows the family to live on his land. Shirley is allowed to remain at home, and the much-needed rains finally come. Still, Ferreira presents an authentic picture of the chasm between the haves and the have-nots. Contrivances aside, readers will enjoy the exciting adventure as Vusi goes on his first hunt with Gillette, a rite of passage in his culture.
Dorothy N. Bowen, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 15 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 860L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (September 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374392234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374392239
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #685,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after hearing an interview of the author on KNPR and thought it would be good to read with my lower level reading high school students. My students loved the book from beginning to end even though they were high school level. This year I read the book with a group of 7th graders, and boys and girls alike loved the book and many want to buy the book for theirselves. As an adult I enjoyed reading the book and would recommend it for any one who enjoys a good book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading about civil rights in America is tough, especially for kids these days. The events are remote, and the lack of activism in our country makes it hard to imagine what it was like 40 years ago. But this book...Wow! The characters' situations grab you, whether you are relating to the Zulu boy, South African (white) girl, or the dog. There are moments that will make you laugh, and other that we have you holding your breath for 10 pages. And of course, parts that will cause you to weep. The story is very well told, and spares the reader nothing in terms of the vitriol felt by racist So Africans. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
"Zulu Dog" is a must read, not just for children aged 9-12, but for any adult who loves a good story, adeptly told, with memorable characters and compelling plot twists. The author of this wonderfully woven tale is going to be famous!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful story. Many lessons learned.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Maybe the best book I've ever read! Wonderful story for readers of all ages.
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