The Trouble With Donovan Croft by Bernard Ashley
|The Trouble With Donovan Croft by Bernard Ashley|
|Reviewer: Loralei Haylock|
|Summary: Intelligent, thought provoking and a truly lovely story, I highly recommend this book to both children and the adults buying it for them.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 208||Date: June 2008|
|Publisher: Oxford University Press|
Keith Chapman is about to get a new foster brother. His name is Donovan, and he can't stay at his own house because his mother has gone back to Jamaica to care for her dying father, and his father works too many hours at the factory to take proper care of him.
Keith isn't sure how he feels about having someone else in the house. It's just been him and his parents since his older brother got married. Then Donovan arrives and he won't talk to anyone. He won't talk to Keith, he won't talk to Mr and Mrs Chapman, and he won't talk to the teachers at school. It's not that he's badly behaved – he does everything he's asked to, he just won't respond.
As Keith and his family try to help silent, suffering Donovan, a bond begins to form between the two boys. Donovan may not be Keith's real brother, but that won't stop him trying to help Donovan find his voice.
The Trouble With Donovan Croft is a heartwarming tale of the brotherly love that can develop between two boys, and how such bonds can save a person's life. It was originally published in the seventies, and though certain elements of the story are dated, the tale of love and brotherhood are as powerful today as they ever were.
A brief note from Bernard Ashley outlines the biggest differences between the times, and some of the easier to update terminology has been changed (Fourth Year Junior has been changed to Year Six for instance) but there are really only a couple of occasions after the first five or so chapters that you remember it isn't just a modern story. Tickets to a football game cost ninety pence and the cane is still used in Keith's school, but the true heart of the story is timeless. In fact, when reading some of the passages that dealt with racism towards Donovan because of his Jamaican heritage, it made me ask myself if the world has really changed that much in the last thirty years.
The Trouble With Donovan Croft is a deceptively simple book. Actually reading the story, the words on the page, wouldn't trouble a confident reader, but the content is perhaps better suited to a slightly older age range. It deals with issues such as racism, immigration and bullying as a result of disabilities, and makes you question the attitudes of others and yourself. Younger children might enjoy reading it with a parent and discussing the questions raised with them.
I highly recommend this book to both children and the adults buying it for them. Intelligent, thought provoking and a truly lovely story, it's a great book for someone who wants something to really make them think. It will stay with you long after you put it down.
For another great book that deals with children battling with life's problems, and the bonds between brothers, try Catcall by Linda Newbery.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Trouble With Donovan Croft by Bernard Ashley at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Trouble With Donovan Croft by Bernard Ashley at Amazon.com.
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