Title: The Wild Book
Author: Margarita Engle
# Of Pages: 144
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Publication Date: March 20, 2012
Level: Middle Grade
Rating: 3 Hearts
Fefa struggles with words. She has word blindness, or dyslexia, and the doctor says she will never read or write. Every time she tries, the letters jumble and spill off the page, leaping and hopping away like bullfrogs. How will she ever understand them?
But her mother has an idea. She gives Fefa a blank book filled with clean white pages. "Think of it as a garden," she says. Soon Fefa starts to sprinkle words across the pages of her wild book. She lets her words sprout like seedlings, shaky at first, then growing stronger and surer with each new day. And when her family is threatened, it is what Fefa has learned from her wild book that saves them.
I just have to express my absolute LOVE of this cover! The illustrations are just so colorful and beautiful. Now for the actual story: this is the third book I’ve read by Margarita Engle and unfortunately none of them have lived up to the first.
The Wild Book is about eleven-year old Fefa, who at the beginning of the book finds out she has “word-blindness” or what we now know as common day dyslexia. The book is about Fefa’s struggle and how she works to overcome it. It’s set in the Cuban countryside of 1912, and is a work of historical fiction loosely based on stories the author’s grandmother used to tell her.
I found it unbelievable how cruel Fefa’s own brothers and sisters treated her, making fun or her reading and writing, calling her ugly. Maybe it’s because I had a great relationship with my sister growing up, but I just couldn’t fathom them being so downright nasty to her.
As always the authors beautiful writing had me jotting down quotes as I went along. Here is my favorite:
“Words seem to float
and drift, changing
their strange shapes,
like storms clouds,
always ready to explode.”
Overall it wasn’t a personal favorite, but I think it serves as a great example for kids of perseverance and never giving up, because while Fefa got frustrated a lot near the beginning, she kept working to overcome her dyslexia.