Acclaimed Newbery Medalist Christopher Paul Curtis delivers a powerful companion to his multiple award-winning Elijah of Buxton.
Hailed as a modern-day Mark Twain, Christopher Paul Curtis introduces two clever, funny, brave, utterly authentic kids. Benji and Red are boys young readers will want to run around in the woods with, play pranks on, and entrust with their deepest secrets.
Set in Buxton, Ontario, a settlement of runaway slaves, forty years after the events of Elijah of Buxton, the story unfolds through Benji and Red's alternating first-person narratives. hrough their eyes, we meet two different, yet equally damaged, individuals: an Irish immigrant woman whose journey to Canada proves as devastating as the famine she's escaping, and a Black Canadian soldier who barely survives the American Civil War only to find he no longer fits in back home.
As the boys discover that their elders have been forever scarred by their pasts, so do we readers come to understand more than we could learn from any history lesson. Here is a novel that will break your heart - and expand it, too.
CHRISTOPHER PAUL CURTIS was awarded both a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor for his debut book The Watsons Go to Birmingham and won the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award for his second book, Bud, Not Buddy. Mr. Curtis is also the author of the Golden Kite Award-winning Bucking the Sarge, as well as Mr. Chickee's Funny Money, Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission, and Elijah of Buxton. A longtime resident of Windsor, Ontario, he now lives in Detroit, Michigan. His website is www.nobodybutcurtis.com.
Praise for The Madman of Piney Woods:
* "Curtis masterfully interweaves goofy family vignettes, memorable characters, and thought-provoking themes into a page-turner with appeal to multiple audiences and tastes. . . This will be a strong recom- mendation for families in search of materials to enjoy together "-Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
* "In this crisp, wise, and beautifully constructed novel, Curtis . . . uses the past as a lens through which we see ongoing human dilemmas . . . but [his] well-placed humour keeps pulling us back from the edge of darkness, allowing us to laugh even as we learn." -Quill & Quire, starred review
* "Humor and tragedy are often intertwined, and readers will find themselves sobbing and chuckling, sometimes in the same scene . . . Beautiful storytelling as only Curtis can do it." -Kirkus, starred review
* "A journey of revelation and insight. Woven throughout this profoundly moving yet also at times very funny novel are themes of family, friendship, community, compassion, and, fittingly, the power of words." -Horn Book, starred review
* "The author's obvious love for his characters, his skillful use of sentiment, and his often hyperbolic humor . . . is, in short, quintessential Curtis, sure to please his legions of fans and to cultivate new ones." -Booklist, starred review
"There's a thrill ride of a plot that flirts with a perilous adult-level depiction of tragedy, but banks away into something manageable for a 9-year-old. Even-ahem-a sensitive middle-aged man will be entertained but not traumatized by the books memorably shocking events[.]"-The New York Times Book Review
"Suspense and surprises keep this story popping along, but its real momentum is generated by the personable, complex characters of the two boys, the family relationships, and the challenging themes Curtis explores...Excellent fare." -The Toronto Star