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Kit's Wilderness by David Almond

Kit's Wilderness (1999)

by David Almond

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8033611,373 (3.56)36
  1. 01
    Jeremy Visick by David Wiseman (karneol)
    karneol: Another British book about the spell of mining history.

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40. [Kit's Wilderness], by David Almond (***) - 2001 Winner
Category: Printz Award (YA) Winners

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this story. It opens with a game called Death, in which the young teenagers of the small town of Stoneygate play inside an old coal mining shaft. There is a girl who wants to be an actress, a grandfather who tells old stories but is starting to forget his past, and a number of children ghosts. I liked the story, but didn’t love it and I’m not really sure what else to say. ( )
  andreablythe | Jul 2, 2015 |
his is such a powerful story that is spellbinding. Christopher Watson,Kit, moves back to live in Stoneygate with his parents after the death of his paternal grandmother to a place where the roots of his family run deep. There he finds that he has a natural affinity not only with his grandfather, but also the other ancient rooted families and the very earth itself.

There is a predominant theme of healing in this story. Newcomer Kit forms an unlikely alliance with John Askew, regarded my many as a lout and largely feared. Kit joins Askew's 'clique', made up of kids from the old local mining families, and plays Askew's game called Death. It becomes clear that this game is a device which Askew uses to identify those who can see the ghosts who occupy the Wilderness and those who merely pretend. Kit can see them as can his grandfather. Many of the old miners who worked in the pit can see them. Askew can see them, but he lives in a family which struggles with unemployment and drunkenness. Suspended from school and floundering without the moral support he needs, Askew is seduced by the ghosts into an emotional darkness.

Askew claims that he has been waiting for Kit to appear all his life and sees him as a like minded individual but Kit is able to lead Askew out of darkness and back to a new beginning through the thousands of years and the hundreds of feet of earth which overburden them both, out of the old drift mine and back into the morning light. Kit's grandfather is a natural story teller passing on verbally the many local legends. Kit is also a natural storyteller and finds that through his writings is able to bring life to long dead peoples thus showing that nobody truly dies as long as there is someone to remember them.

This is a book that would certainly appeal to the Young Adult readers as it is well written with an easy to understand vocabulary with plenty of interwoven threads but it should also appeal to older readers as it also has a remarkable depth about it. A quick, easy and very enjoyable read. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Feb 26, 2015 |
I'm planning a full review on my blog. So for now I'll say, meh. ( )
  akmargie | Apr 4, 2013 |
This novel was about 13 year old Christopher Watson (Kit) who has just moved with his parents to Stoneygate after his grandmothers death. They move there to be with Kit's grandfather and throughout this novel Kit grows closer to him. Kit learns about his ancestors and how they were some of the first ones to live in this old mining town. Kit becomes part of a group which goes down to the pit (although it is closed now) and plays a game called "Death", until a teacher finds out what they are doing. The group is forced to stop, but Kit continues to hang out with Allie and they become close friends.
I believe this novel would really appeal to young adult readers. I believe that it would keep their attention. This book shows moral situations aimed at the young adult readers. His growing relationship with his grandfather shows strong family bonds, which is important to any young adult. This book also has a lot of other useful materials.
I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the suspense that this novel was full of. It kept you wondering the whole time. I also liked how Kit became close to his grandfather and at first would ask him question about his life and their ancestors. I have always been close to my grandfather and loved hearing him tell stories so I could relate to Kit in that way. It was interesting to read about how some of the character is this novel reacted to the death game and to each other. I also liked the ending of the book, which you will just have to read. ( )
  ErikaBrown | Jul 26, 2012 |
There are many layers of connection for students in this ghost story. It deals with real issues such as death, aging grandparents, alcoholism and peer pressure.
  Randalea | Aug 7, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440416051, Mass Market Paperback)

Like David Almond's 1998 Whitbread-winning Skellig, this powerful, eerie, elegantly written novel celebrates the magic that is part of our existence--the magic that occurs when we dream at night, the magic that connects us to family long gone, the magic that connects humans to the land, and us all to each other. As Kit's grandfather puts it, "the tales and memories and dreams that keep the world alive."

It seems fated that 13-year-old Christopher Watson, nicknamed Kit, would move to Stoneygate, an old English coal-mining village where his ancestors lived, worked, and died. Evidence of the ancient coal pit is everywhere--depressions in the gardens, jagged cracks in the roadways, in his grandfather's old mining songs. A monument in the St. Thomas graveyard bears the name of child workers killed in the Stoneygate pit disaster of 1821, including Kit's own name--Christopher Watson, aged 13--the name of a distant uncle. At the top of this high, narrow pyramid-shaped monument is the name John Askew, the same name of Kit's classmate who takes the connection between this monument and life--and death--very seriously.

The drama unfolds as the haunted, hulking, dark-eyed John Askew draws Kit and other classmates into the game of Death, a spin-the-knife, pretend-to-die game that he hosts in a deep hole dug in the earth, with candles, bones, and carved pictures of the children of the old families of Stoneygate. Kit the writer and Askew the artist belong together, Askew keeps telling him. "Your stories is like my drawings, Kit. They take you back deep into the dark and show it lives within us still.... You see it, don't you? You're starting to see that you and me is just the same." Are they, though?

Kit's Wilderness conjures a world where the past is alive in the present and creeps into the future--a world where ancestral ghosts and even the slow-changing geology of the landscape are as tangible as lunch. Powerful images of darkness exploding into "lovely lovely light" filter throughout the story, as Almond boldly explores the dark side and unearths a joyful message of redemption. (Ages 11 and much, much older) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:23 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Thirteen-year-old Kit goes to live with his grandfather in the decaying coal mining town of Stoneygate, England, and finds both the old man and the town haunted by ghosts of the past.

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