Review: Wild Boy by Mary Losure

   Title: Wild Boy
Author: Mary Losure
Publisher: Candlewick

March 26, 2013

I received a copy of this book from the publisher after winning a giveaway hosted by Laura at Book Snob. A review was not expected or requested.

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Wild Boy tells “the real life of the savage of Aveyron,” a feral child found living in the woods in France around 1800. Upon his discovery, he was examined, studied, and attempts were made to civilize him. He was given the name Victor and thankfully, he also found someone who cared for him as if he were family.

I love the narrative non-fiction style of this book, the way it reads like fiction. Details about Victor’s life are always appropriate for the intended age group (10 and up), and it’s easy to connect with how he must have felt along the way. Readers see examples of scientific thought and methods in the early 19th century, and come to understand why Dr. Itard’s methods were kinder and more humane than others.

The illustrations are charcoal drawings, not overly detailed. They don’t try to show too much; they give just enough detail to inspire the imagination to fill in the rest.

A true “living” history book, Wild Boy includes a map on inside cover showing his journey, a quote from a primary source at the start of each chapter, thorough source notes and a bibliography for further reading, and a fascinating bit of extra information in the one-page author’s note.

About the author

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