cover image Dorp Dead

Dorp Dead

Julia Cunningham. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-375-82255-1

Long out of print, Julia Cunningham's Dorp Dead (1965), illus. by James Spanfeller, was a precursor to a movement toward gritty realism in young adult novels. Here, the 10-year-old orphaned narrator (who, according to him, is ""ferociously intelligent"" and, in order to hide his gift, ""purposely never learn[ed] to spell"") is taken in by the town's eccentric ladder maker and is compelled to escape when he discovers the man's plans for him.