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The Savage

by David  Almond
Illustrated by Dave McKean

Published by Candlewick Press, 2008
79 pages
ISBN: 9780763639327

Ages 11-15

Weaving between recent past and present, this intense exploration of magic and the monster within is about boy named Blue Baker who is mourning his father. Blue writes a story called “The Savage,” about a wild boy living in the woods on the edge of town. The Savage is violent and angry and eats anything he can catch. He also watches the humans who pass by his woods, which is how he observes Blue and his younger sister, who strike a deep and hidden chord of tenderness inside him. He also notices Hopper, the mean boy who harasses Blue. Where Blue feels powerless toward Hopper, the Savage feels only anger and sets out to punish the bully. The lines between Blue’s story and the real world blur when Hopper is threatened: Is the Savage real or is Blue—a bullied child grieving the loss and protection of his father—on the verge of acting out his violent fantasy? David Almond’s story about the transformative power of creativity features Dave McKean’s powerful illustrations reflecting the intense emotional chaos. That chaos is finally calmed when Blue/the Savage chooses to not cross over a frightening line.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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