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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Whittington* by Alan Armstrong- young readers book review
Also by Alan Armstrong:

Racing the Moon

Looking for Marco Polo
by Alan Armstrong
Ages 9-12 208 pages Yearling December 2006 Paperback    

He's warm. He's witty. He's wise. His name is Whittington , and when he walks into Bernie's barn looking for a place to stay, he finds a home and family.

Readers will love this tough tomcat with a tender heart. When his former family disowns him, he goes in search of shelter but finds love and acceptance. Bernie's barn is home to all the misfits, rescued animals whose lives would have ended in misery if not for the kindness of this cigar-smoking grandpa. This haven for the helpless is presided over by Lady, a Muscovy duck with clipped wings and a dream of flying. Other friends include a pair of racehorses who were destined for the "finish" line, a rooster who’s more of a singer, and a pack of rats with some very useful skills.

Besides the coziness and camaraderie inspired by these critters, the author weaves a patchwork of parables as several storylines intersect. Whittington brings a tale of adventure to his barnyard pals as he tells them about Dick Whittington, his namesake. Dick achieved fame and fortune because of the wisdom of a nameless cat. This is based partly on facts with a bit of fiction thrown in, and gives the book a sense of magic. On another level, Ben and Abby, Bernie's grandchildren, grapple with Ben's failure to learn to read. The author takes all of these seemingly unconnected elements and draws them together for several important and timeless lessons on life.

Each chapter is short enough for a younger audience, and the activity of the animals has a genuine feel. Although the critters can communicate with each other and talk to Bernie's grandchildren, their actions are consistent with their species and grounded in reality. Readers will almost be able to smell the hay and hear the gentle and innocent voices of this menagerie of misfits. This "yarn" spun by a unique and amazing cat knits hearts and minds together in hope.
Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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