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The Silver Donkey

by Sonya Hartnett
Illustrated by Don Powers

Published by Candlewick Press, 2006
266 pages
ISBN: 0763629375

Ages 10-13

Two young sisters find a man in the woods near the French home. The war is raging not too far away, and he is a deserter from the English army. He is cold, wet, and hungry; something is wrong with his eyes; and he is trying to make it home to his sickly younger brother before the boy dies. The girls are touched by the young man’s plight. Coco, the younger sister, is also captivated by his talisman—a tiny silver donkey. Thrilled to have such a tremendous secret, the girls smuggle the young man food. In gratitude, he tells them stories, tales of wise, gentle donkeys that also touch on the cruelty of persecution and the tragedy of war. Determined to help the young man get home, the sisters finally enlist the aide of their older brother in Sonya Hartnett’s tender and lyrical story. Set during World War I Hartnett’s narrative is a testament to purity and goodness in many forms, as well as an artful indictment of the terrible waste of war.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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