In this provocative novel, 10-year-old Nina is able to confront her distant and controlling parents with the help of a runaway boy she finds hiding in the garden. Tormod Haugen weaves a lyrical, haunting story, which is captured by Diamond's equally stunning illustrations.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Norwegian
Grade 5-7-After 10-year-old Nina's parents find a small pair of blue sneakers in their summer home, items begin to disappear, the girl begins to act strangely, and a menacing atmosphere overtakes the village. Bored with summer, Nina ventures to find the owner of the shoes, who turns out to be a lad who has run away from home and has been hiding in a tree nearby. The meetings between them are awkward and surreal with little information exchanged except for the unnamed boy's pleas for her to keep him fed and hidden. A mysterious fantasy element running through the story is Nina's discovery of the word "zeppelin" written on the boy's shoes, which appears to glow and give her powers of realization and vision, causing her to view her life and her parents in a different way. Keeping his presence a secret, she tries to convince the boy to return home. Frightened, he flees to a cave, leaving her to retrieve him. Sentences are short, terse, and even fragmented, breaking the flow and offering only glimpses of ideas. Sometimes the choppy translation seems almost too literal, with unnatural sentences and disjointed paragraphs. At times, unacknowledged quotations leave readers second-guessing. The writing becomes cleaner and more fluid toward the end of the book, when more of the plot becomes evident. But the meaning and power of the word "zeppelin" is never explained. The confusing sentence structure and lack of much suspense detract from this novel, and readers are sure to be left wondering the significance of it all. It doesn't contain enough fantasy to qualify on that level, and its realism is too obscure.
Sharon Korbeck, Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Harpercollins, 1994. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060208821