A Question of Trust

Bauer, Marion Dane

Published by Scholastic Paperbacks, 1995
ISBN 10: 0590479237 / ISBN 13: 9780590479233
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Synopsis: When a cat arrives in the shed behind his house, Brad decides to keep it despite his father's strict no-pets rule, and when the cat has two kittens and one dies, Brad and his little brother become desperate to save the second kitten. Reprint. AB. H. SLJ. K.

From Booklist: Gr. 5-7. The first thing Brad is determined to do is keep his younger brother, Charlie, in line. When the boys' mother separated from their father, she expected her sons to visit her on Fridays. But Brad won't answer her phone calls, and he won't let Charlie answer either. Brad's plan is simple. After a few weeks of not talking to her sons, their mother will be so miserable that she'll have to move back home. Charlie understands, but he misses his mom. Only when a cat appears in their tool shed and promptly has two kittens is Charlie distracted. The cat, though, is not someone's pet. She's half wild, and Brad's suspicions about her maternal instincts are confirmed when, in a devastating scene, he finds one of the kittens dead, torn apart, it appears, by its mother. From then on Brad makes it his mission to save the other kitten, feeding it, stealing to get what it needs, but most of all keeping the mother cat away. Even a middle-grader will get the symbolism that pervades the story, and though Bauer tries very hard not to be obvious, there are moments when she can't stop her characters from explaining the parallels and, eventually, the need of both mothers to be free. Interestingly, the book is probably at its least compelling when musing on motherhood. What grabs your attention is the bruising relationship between the brothers and Brad's very realistic need to hold his anger close and keep it warm. From the first page, Bauer writes with an intensity and honesty that propel readers through the story, stirring their feelings, too. She makes them see how love and hate are intertwined. Ilene Cooper

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Title: A Question of Trust
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Publication Date: 1995
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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