A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Ben has tantrums when he throws books and knocks over furniture.
Violence & Scariness
Some fighting and killing amongst the animals. A young boy fights off robbers with a knife, receiving a scar across his face.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Gelding is mentioned.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Bernie smokes cigars, children in the Middle Ages drink beer, opium and hashish are mentioned as trade goods.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that a young boy is wounded in the face in a knife fight, and a chicken is killed by rats. One character smokes cigars, children in the Middle Ages drink beer, and opium and hashish are mentioned as trade goods.
Is It Any Good?
Relationships between human and animal, and between language and story, unite the threads of this rich and deceptively complex novel spanning across six centuries. Kids will enjoy the three interlocking stories here, especially the one that takes place in the 14th century. The retelling of Dick Whittington's legend -- about a boy who finds fame and fortune due to his cat's knack for killing rats -- is thrilling -- and told from a feline point of view. Kids will also be fascinated by the well-researched period details, and it may send some scurrying for more information, especially about Marco Polo.
This gutsy young boy, filled with grit and determination, hearkens back to an earlier era's heroes, such as the boy in Where the Red Fern Grows.. The barnyard scenes will also remind many of Charlotte's Web in their peaceful community of speaking animals (and kids who can join and understand them), as well as in their uneasy, but ultimately mutually beneficial, relationship with the rats.
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Our Editors Recommend
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