Youth Donna Jo Napoli The Bravest Thing

ISBN 13: 9780525453970

The Bravest Thing

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9780525453970: The Bravest Thing

Laurel, a ten-year-old girl who loves animals, opens her heart to a tiny rabbit named Bun Bun, a new pet that teaches her about the glories of life and the reality of death.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Laurel, the thoughtful 10-year-old heroine of this ambitious novel, loves all her pets-snakes, rabbits, fish-and she takes good care of them, but they suffer untimely deaths. When a pet rabbit at last thrives, Laurel gets permission to mate her and cherishes dreams of raising the newborns. She successfully breeds the rabbit, but when the litter is born, the mother refuses to nurse and the babies die. Although Laurel is devastated, she mates the rabbit again, encouraged by the veterinarian. Again the mother won't nurse her offspring. The vet warns that there's very little hope of survival, but Laurel feeds them herself, and one of the six newborns pulls through. Napoli (Shark Shock; The Magic Circle) avoids easy optimism, also handing Laurel such tough breaks as a tendency toward scoliosis and an aunt's cancer. Despite the multitude of hard knocks, this is not a problem novel-as in life, the difficulties come mixed with occasions for happiness. Characters and situations are drawn so carefully and roundly that Laurel's extraordinary determination seems realistic. Napoli ends the novel without averting Laurel's scoliosis or curing the aunt, rather, she inspires the reader to believe that obstacles, no matter how daunting, can be made smaller through courage. Ages 8-11.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 3-5?A number of serious subjects are touched upon in this novel, but none of them is fully explored. Ten-year-old narrator Laurel is an animal lover, but in spite of the support of her parents and a working knowledge of the library, pet after pet dies, sometimes due to her ignorance. Napoli makes light of the situation as Laurel tries again, this time with a baby rabbit. Over the course of the time that Bun Bun matures and mates, Laurel has a scare following a scoliosis test at school and her aunt undergoes cancer treatment. Neither disease is clearly explained, and although Laurel's mother is troubled by these events, neither she nor her husband ever emerges as a solid character. Bun Bun neglects both of her litters and all of the baby rabbits but one die in spite of Laurel's desperate attempts to save them. Though she does manage to nurse that one to maturity and learns enough about rabbits for the local vet to offer her a job, this is neither a particularly believable story nor one that will teach readers about responsible pet care or the real impact of life-and-death issues.?Susan Oliver, Hillsborough County Science Library at MOSI, Tampa, FL
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Donna Jo Napoli
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