The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
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What happens when society finds a wild boy alone in the woods and tries to civilize him? A true story from the author of The Fairy Ring.
One day in 1798, woodsmen in southern France returned from the forest having captured a naked boy. He had been running wild, digging for food, and was covered with scars. In the village square, people gathered around, gaping and jabbering in words the boy didn’t understand. And so began the curious public life of the boy known as the Savage of Aveyron, whose journey took him all the way to Paris. Though the wild boy’s world was forever changed, some things stayed the same: sometimes, when the mountain winds blew, "he looked up at the sky, made sounds deep in his throat, and gave great bursts of laughter." In a moving work of narrative nonfiction that reads like a novel, Mary Losure invests another compelling story from history with vivid and arresting new life.
Mary Losure, author of The Fairy Ring, has worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio and a contributor to National Public Radio. She lives with her husband in Minnesota.
Timothy Basil Ering is the illustrator of many award-winning books, including Kate DiCamillo’s Newbery Medal–winning The Tale of Despereaux. He lives in Massachusetts.
In understated, atmospheric prose, Losure carefully relates the recorded observations of the "men of science" who examined and/or educated the wild boy, finding the evocative details that hinted at his inner life while painting a vivid picture of the misty forests and hilltops the boy would have called home. Smudgy, gestural charcoal drawings accompany the text in this beautifully produced book, depicting the boy’s struggles as his (usually) well-meaning captors attempted to domesticate him. ... Abundant source notes and a strong bibliography make this lyrical, readable book a wonderful nonfiction choice.
—School Library Journal