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Two young boys, one Israeli, the other Jordanian, meet in an orange grove separating their border villages and make a secret pact.
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Grade 3-5 Beni and Ahmed were both about ten years old, and they both liked to play soccer. However, they were unable to develop their friendship because Beni is an Israeli Jew and Ahmed a Jordanian Arab, and the boundary between their homes was not to be crossed. Cohen ably and subtly shows children how political borders and adult prejudices divide and separate people. But she also injects hope and the possibility of a more stable future into her story as the boys meet secretly, learn about each other's family lives and spend time together harmoniously. The theme of peace in the Middle East has been well presented to this age group in nonfiction works (Jacob Zim's My Shalom, My Peace: Painting and Poems by Jewish and Arab Children McGraw Hill, 1975; o.p. and Gavriel and Jemal: Two Boys of Jerusalem Dodd, 1984 by Brent Ashabranner). The Secret Grove serves to fill the gap in fiction for younger readers. The soft black-and-white illustrations are adequate but do not capture the Middle East as strongly as the text. Except for their headgear, the ethnic qualities of the children, although central to the plot, are absent pictorially. This lessens the impact of an otherwise distinctive story. Barbara Webber, Gordon-Barbour Elementary School Library, Gordonsville, Va.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0153022256
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