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An inspirational illustrated novel for younger readers from the 2002 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize-winning author of Thursday's Child. One morning in the woods of France, a blinded soldier is found by two sisters, Coco and Marcelle. In return for their kindness the soldier tells the sisters marvellous tales, connected with the keepsake he carries in his pocket: a tiny silver donkey. As the days pass and they struggle to help the soldier reach home, the sisters learn the truth behind the silver donkey and what the precious object means: honesty, loyalty and courage.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781406304299
ISBN-10: 1406304298
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 16mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Walker Books Ltd
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Publish Date: 3-Nov-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Marcelle and Coco, "two skinny, flash-eyed little girls, wild as kittens born under stables," aged ten and eight respectively, discover a blind British soldier, an army deserter, in the woods near their French village. It's WWI, and Lieutenant Shepard has not come out of the war with all his faculties intact. Hartnett's timely, haunting depiction of the grimness and waste of war, her piercing exploration of moral issues such as bravery verses cowardice and the importance of truth are curiously, though effectively, juxtaposed with an old-fashioned children's story. The girls and their 13-year-old brother secretly bring the soldier food and supplies, and, in spite of the danger, are determined to help him cross the Channel and return home. The Lieutenant's good-luck charm, a small silver donkey symbolizing different things to each character, is at the hub of this hard-to-define yet exquisitely written fable. Ostensibly a gift from his ailing little brother, it inspires the telling of four allegorical tales all of which feature clever, reliable, self-sacrificing donkeys. Thirteen quietly evocative black-and-white pencil illustrations complement the text. Hartnett's powerful imagery and her inimitable deftness with language lift this multi-genre work high off the ground. (Historical fiction. 10-14) (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Sonya Hartnett

Sonya Hartnett's work has won numerous Australian and international literary prizes and has been published around the world. Uniquely, she is acclaimed for her stories for adults, young adults and children. Her accolades include the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Of A Boy), The Age Book of the Year (Of A Boy), the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize (Thursday's Child), the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for both Older and Younger Readers (Forest, The Silver Donkey, The Ghost's Child, The Midnight Zoo and The Children of the King), the Victorian Premier's Literary Award (Surrender), shortlistings for the Miles Franklin Award (for both Of a Boy and Butterfly) and the CILP Carnegie Medal (The Midnight Zoo). Hartnett is also the first Australian recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (2008). In 2014, Hartnett published a new novel for adults, Golden Boys, and her third picture book, The Wild One. True Stories: Close to Home featuring Sonya Hartnett

Books By Author Sonya Hartnett

Thursday's Child by Sonya Hartnett

Thursday's Child

Paperback, March 2017
$14.58
Forest by Sonya Hartnett

Forest

Paperback, June 2016
$16.79
Stripes of the Sidestep Wolf by Sonya Hartnett

Stripes of the Sidestep Wolf

Paperback, June 2016
$17.99
Sleeping Dogs by Sonya Hartnett

Sleeping Dogs

Paperback, June 2016
$17.99