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Spider Sparrow by Dick King-Smith (1998)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440416647, Paperback)Tom Sparrow is used to caring for orphan lambs, but he had never before stumbled upon a human baby--nor seen one as long and thin as the wailing bundle he discovers in his lambing pen one night. He and his wife Kathie had always wanted a child, but had given up years ago. When this little boy comes into their life, they are delighted to adopt him. As the years pass, John Joseph Sparrow earns the nickname "Spider" from his odd manner of crawling on disproportionately long limbs, proving to be a special boy who never says more than a few words. Because of Spider's peculiarities, the neighboring community is convinced he'll never amount to much. Instead, they come to appreciate Spider's unique talents for imitating and communicating with animals, his dedicated work as "crowstarver," his courageous, joyful approach to life, and his large heart. Young readers will cheer at Spider's successes, ache when he cries, and grin when he breaks into his customary lopsided smile.
Set in an English farming community before and during World War II, Spider Sparrow reflects Babe: The Gallant Pig author Dick King-Smith's own history as a veteran of that war and a farmer in Gloucestershire. The story of a boy who is different gaining the respect of a community threads through this vivid portrait of a particular time and place, rich in dialect and detail. (Glossary included.) (Ages 9 to 12) --Karin Snelson
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:30 -0400)
Spider, a baby abandoned on an English farm, grows up to be mentally slower than other children but manifests a remarkable talent for communicating with animals as he comes of age during World War II.
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