By Kurtis Scaletta
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780375861802, 288pp.)
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
List Price: $16.99*
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When his dad gets a job at the U.S. embassy in Liberia, twelve-year-old Linus Tuttle knows it's his chance for a fresh start. Instead of being his typical anxious self, from now on he'll be cooler and bolder: the new Linus.
But as soon as his family gets off the plane, they see a black mamba--one of the deadliest snakes in Africa. Linus's parents insist mambas are rare, but the neighborhood is called Mamba Point, and Linus can barely go outside without tripping over one--he's sure the venomous serpents are drawn to him. Then he hears about kasengs, and the belief that some people have a deep, mysterious connection to certain animals.
Unless Linus wants to hide in his apartment forever (drawing or playing games with the strange kid downstairs while his older brother meets girls and hangs out at the pool), he has to get over his fear of his kaseng animal. Soon he's not only keeping a black mamba in his laundry hamper; he's also feeling braver than ever before. Is it his resolution to become the new Linus, or does his sudden confidence have something to do with his scaly new friend?
From Kurtis Scaletta, author of Mudville, comes a humorous and compelling story of a boy learning about himself through unexpected friends, a fascinating place, and an extraordinary animal.
Kurtis Scaletta was born in Louisiana and grew up in several states and foreign countries, including Liberia, where this story takes place. Mamba Point is his second novel for young readers. His first book, Mudville, is a Booklist Top Ten Sports Book for Youth and was named a Midwest Connections Pick by the Midwest Booksellers Association.
Kurtis now lives in Minneapolis with his wife and several cats (but no snakes). To learn more about him, please visit www.kurtisscaletta.com.