Kit Wilderness By David Almond
New York Delacorte Press 1999 229p.
Tags: Michael L.Printz 2001
This novel has a story within a story which is masterfully told by Printz Award, winning author David Almond. Kit Watson, aged 13 moves with his family to Stoneygate, an old mining town where his grandfather, who has Alzheimer’s has recently been widowed. Kit becomes very close to his grandfather who loves to tell old stories of the mining days gone past and Kit, like his grandfather, can see the ghosts of the mines.
Becoming the new kid in school is never easy and he is befriended by Allie a smart, disinterested in school, aspiring actress and John Askew a troubled, abused, superb artist who can also see ghosts. Kit is very drawn to John and soon after arriving gets sucked into playing the game “Death” down in an old mine shaft. Back in 1821 their was a mine disaster that killed 117 miners, many who were children; two who were 13 years old named John Askew and Kit Watson. Almond paints a picture of the game “Death” becoming both thrilling and terrifying as these two opposites attract each other. When John and Kit come up missing the story that Kit has been dreaming and writing runs parallel to the main story line. The character’s are believable and brought alive in this dark but heartwarming story of finding one’s past and coming to gripes with an uncertain present. This is a great novel for teen boys–they will love the adventure, the mystery and the character of Kit.
Quality 5Q Popularity 4P Grades MJ Lexile: 470
Read-alikes: Skelling by David Almond, Heaven Eyes by David Almond, The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke and Feather Boy by Nicky Singer.