Betti on the High Wire

Lisa Railsback, Dial, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3388-6
In this highly original debut, Railsback delivers a poignant comedy rooted in a tragic contemporary reality. Babo—a fierce 10-year-old orphan in an unnamed, war-ravaged country—watches over the younger "leftover kids" in the abandoned circus camp they call home. Her bad "fish eye" and few missing toes make her better off than those with missing limbs or damaged brains; her overactive imagination provides the group with never-ending stories—and earns her the nickname Babo Big Mouth. Relentless at frightening off well-meaning foreigners who come looking for children to adopt, Babo is horrified when the American Buckworths choose her. In spite of her efforts to behave so badly the Buckworths will send her home, Babo, renamed Betti, slowly warms to America and her new family. The Buckworths—except for mischievous daughter Lucy—are a tad too warm and understanding to be completely believable, but Railsback's backstory of Mrs. Buckworth having been orphaned at a young age eases some doubts and helps Babo bond with her. While some of the subject matter can be grisly, Babo's bravado is endearing and her giggle-provoking adventures lighten the story's dark backdrop. Ages 8–12. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/28/2010
Release date: 07/01/2010
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-73828-8
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-101-43716-2
Paperback - 277 pages - 978-0-14-241877-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-73829-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-73826-4
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!