An ecological romance with a pulsing heart, equal parts Rider Haggard and Chico Buarque -- one of the world's greatest and most beloved storytellers broadens her style and reach with a Amazonian adventure story which will appeal to all ages Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold has the chance to take the trip of a lifetime. With his mother in hospital ...
An ecological romance with a pulsing heart, equal parts Rider Haggard and Chico Buarque -- one of the world's greatest and most beloved storytellers broadens her style and reach with a Amazonian adventure story which will appeal to all ages Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold has the chance to take the trip of a lifetime. With his mother in hospital, too ill to look after him, Alex is sent out to his grandmother Kate -- a fearless reporter with blue eyes 'as sharp as daggers' points'. Kate is about to embark on an expedition to the dangerous, remote world of the Amazon rainforest, but rather than change her plans, she simply takes Alex along with her. They set off with their team -- including a local guide and his daughter Nadia, with her wild, curly hair and skin the colour of honey -- in search of a fabled headhunting tribe and a legendary, marauding creature known to locals only as 'the Beast', only to find out much, much more about the mysteries of the jungle and its inhabitants. In a novel rich in adventure, magic and spirit, internationally-celebrated novelist Isabel Allende takes readers of all ages on a voyage of discovery and wonder, deep into the heart of the Amazon.
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I liked this book, but I don't think I would give it to just any student- only those who really enjoyed reading and could suffer through the middle 150 pgs. The book began a little iffy. Allende is an AMAZING author, but the first ten or so pages seemed as though she did not even consider she was writing for a young adult audience. Quickly, though, her story becomes addictive as a 15 yr old boy must go with his grandmother, who can be described as the least maternal grandmother alive, to the Amazon in search of a Bigfoot-like beast. He is sent away so his father can take his cancer-stricken mother away for experimental treatment. The story continues through his adventures and adjustments to the harsh world of the Amazon. After 200 wonderful pages, the story takes a turn. There is a 150 page "vision quest" where reality, superstition, and fantasy collide. This is beautifully done, and I appreciated and enjoyed Allende's descriptions, but I cannot imagine my students making it through this chunk of the 400+pg book. Once this mystical piece is over, the story returns to the exciting, fast paced adventure the originally started as. It ended fabulously. I would give the beginning and end 5 stars, and the middle section 3 stars, so I compromise for a solid 4 for the book as a whole!
Publishers Weekly, 2004-05-24 A 15-year-old accompanies his eccentric grandmother on a writing assignment in South America to search for a legendary nine-foot-tall "Beast." PW said the "action and outcome seem cleverly crafted to deliver the moral, but many readers will find the author's formula successful with its environmentalist theme, a pinch of the grotesque and a larger dose of magic." Ages 10-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2003-06-30 PW called this story of a 15-year-old who is reluctant to accompany his grandmother on a writing assignment in South America "laced with surprises and ironic twists." Once their expedition in search of a legendary nine-foot-tall "Beast" begins, however, his doubts are pushed out of his mind by more immediate concerns. All ages. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2002-06-24 Adventure seekers will find plenty of thrills in Allende's first novel for young readers. When 15-year-old Alexander Cold is sent to stay with his eccentric, gruff grandmother, Kate, while his mother is being treated for cancer, he is more than a little reluctant to accompany Kate on a writing assignment in South America to search for a legendary nine-foot-tall "Beast." However, once the expedition down the Amazon begins, Alexander's doubts are pushed out of his mind by more immediate concerns, such as keeping an eye on two suspicious members of the party: a native named Karakawe and Mauro Cari as, a wealthy entrepreneur. After Alexander's mysterious encounter with a caged jaguar, another teen, Nadia, explains its importance to him, and begins calling Alexander "Jaguar." This marks the beginning of their somewhat surreal journey: the two teens are kidnapped by the "People of the Mist," a tribe possessing the power of turning invisible, and enter a mountain to discover the mythical city of El Dorado and the enigmatic "Beasts." Reluctant readers may be intimidated by the thickness of this volume, but the plot moves at a rapid pace, laced with surprises and ironic twists. The action and outcome seem preordained, cleverly crafted to deliver the moral, but many readers will find the author's formula successful with its environmentalist theme, a pinch of the grotesque and a larger dose of magic. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) FYI: Also available in a Spanish-language edition (-051031-5), an audio version (-051076-5) and a Spanish audio version (-051077-3). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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