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Publisher's Summary

Y'Tin is brave.
No one in his village denies that. And while his mother may wish that he'd spend more time on schoolwork than on training his elephant, she knows that it takes a great deal of courage and calm to handle elephants the way that Y'Tin does. He is the best handler in the village - and at 13 years old, the youngest. Maybe he'll even open up his own school someday to teach other Dega how to train wild elephants! That was the plan, anyway - back before the American troops pulled out of the Vietnam War, back before Y'Tin's village was attacked by North Vietnamese forces, back before they had to start digging a massive, menacing pit, back before Y'Tin watched his life change in a million terrible ways.
Now, his bravery is truly put to the test: He can stay in his village, held captive by the North Vietnamese, or he can risk his life (and save his elephant's) by fleeing into the jungle.
Newbery Medal-winning author Cynthia Kadohata brings us close to a world few people know about -- but will never forget. Heartbreaking yet full of hope, Y'Tin's story is one of lasting friendships, desperate choices, and all that we lose when we are forced to change.
©2010 Cynthia Kadohata (P)2010 Simon & Schuster
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Lisa on 11-04-10

beautiful writing

This was well read and held your interest. The point of view of a young boy in Vietnam during the war there is unique to children's literature in English, I think, and the writing is tight and well plotted, and lovely. Very appropriate for a 4th - 6th grade reader, and can be listened to by all ages.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Jan on 07-16-12

Unique setting. Kid making hard choices...

Worth the four hour listen for the setting and most of the story. Writing style was irritating to me... the omniscient point of view felt like it was jerking me around. Y-Tin, a young elephant handler in Vietnam watches as his village is attacked and nearly half living there were slaughtered. He witnesses friends killed, homes burned, escapes, travels though the jungle and chooses to give up his elephant to save her... it had potential to be superior book, but I just didn't feel the magic.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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