Judith Clarke, Author, Handprint, Author . Front Street $16.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-886910-79-9

In six concisely wrought chapters, Clarke (Night Train) spans four generations of an Australian family, elegantly encapsulating the emotions of children and youths as they are initiated into the adult world. The book opens in 1935, when 14-year-old Kenny Sinclair, his father newly buried, dejectedly sets off to find his first job. Accosted by a menacing stranger, Kenny unexpectedly recalls a poem he'd had to memorize for school: "The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,/ And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold"—and repeating the lines helps him maintain his calm and so save his own life. These words come to symbolize threatening situations later faced with equal resiliency by Kenny's children and grandchildren as they try to appease the disquieted spirit of an elderly aunt with memory loss, struggle to survive in a war zone, or attempt to block out angry words exchanged by parents. An especially memorable chapter, set in 1975, allows Kenny only a cameo role, as the neighbor of a refugee family scarred by their flight from war-torn Uganda. Tender, often wrenching narrative subtly guides readers to the essence of each character introduced, inviting them to share the terror, joys and epiphanies of each rite of passage. Clarke's quiet wisdom and keen understanding will touch hearts and stimulate the imagination. Ages 10-up. (June)

Reviewed on: 06/10/2002
Release date: 05/01/1998
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-74093-131-1
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-74214-309-5
Paperback - 184 pages - 978-1-876631-05-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-74030-622-5
Paperback - 172 pages - 978-1-86508-557-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-74319-956-5
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Open Ebook - 180 pages - 978-1-74343-720-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-74313-738-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-74319-944-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-4890-8363-0
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