Sarah's Stars

Elizabeth Laird. The Garbage King
Macmillan  $19.99  ISBN 1-4050-1926-3  330 pg.
Reviewed by Rebecca

He was halfway up the hill when he heard the sound of a car behind him. It must be them! Any moment now their headlights would pick him up and they'd be after him like cats chasing a rat!

The Garbage King is full of adventure and allure; from the very first step you're rooting for Dani and Mamo. It is about the lives they are living on the rough, and about the tough streets that they have been forced to turn to, scavenging and begging. In the gang that they join, they must build trust to get through day to day life. Throughout, the gang find themselves in some gruelling situations, facing some dangerous obsessions and some life-risking moments that may take them away from the very thing that keeps them together: their gang.

The Garbage King was written by Elizabeth Laird of England. She has spent much time travelling through Africa, the Middle East and India, collecting tales and stories along the way. A lot of Elizabeth Laird's story inspirations come from the children of the streets in Ethiopia. She has written several other books for children including: KISS THE DUST, RED SKY IN THE MORNING, SECRET FRIENDS and her most recent novel, JAKE'S TOWER. The Garbage King is a hard-cover realistic fiction novel with 330 pages. I would say this book would be most suited to an intermediate level reader who likes a touching but strong read.

I thought this was a captivating read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Though this book was long, I found it kept my attention the whole way through. By the end it's hard not to feel for Dani and Mamo, as though you had been through all of the events with them. Although I enjoyed this book, it's not really the genre I would normally read, but I'm sure that someone that enjoys realistic fiction will love this book. For that reason, I give The Garbage King 4 stars.


See also the cover art illustration of The Garbage King, by Sydney, in the July 2004 KIdsWWwrite archive.

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