Between Two Ends

( 2 )

Overview

When Yeats and his parents visit his grandmother's creepy old house, Yeats reunites a pair of pirate bookends and uncovers the amazing truth: Years ago, Yeats's father traveled into The Arabian Nights with a friend, and the friend, Shari, is still stuck in the tales. Assisted by the not-always-trustworthy pirates, Yeats must navigate the unfamiliar world of the story of Shaharazad--dodging guards and tigers and the dangerous things that lurk in the margins of the stories--in ...

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Between Two Ends

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Overview

When Yeats and his parents visit his grandmother's creepy old house, Yeats reunites a pair of pirate bookends and uncovers the amazing truth: Years ago, Yeats's father traveled into The Arabian Nights with a friend, and the friend, Shari, is still stuck in the tales. Assisted by the not-always-trustworthy pirates, Yeats must navigate the unfamiliar world of the story of Shaharazad--dodging guards and tigers and the dangerous things that lurk in the margins of the stories--in order to save Shari and bring peace to his family. 

David Ward has created a fantasy rich with atmosphere and full of heart-stopping drama.

Praise for Between Two Ends
“A book about a book within a book. Ward presents just enough of an outline of the traditional Arabian Nights frame story to set the stage for modern readers, while creating his own fantasy within the fantasy to grab their attention.” –Kirkus Reviews

“A satisfying chapterbook fantasy.” –Booklist

“Both the fantastical and the real settings are well developed. The gruff and amusing bookend pirates are the perfect mix of heroism and pragmatism to complement Yeats.” –The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a story that's entertaining, despite occasionally painful subject matter, 12-year-old Yeats Trafford has never understood why his father, a university professor, suffers from a lifelong, crippling depression, which has strained his parents' marriage. Upon visiting his grandmother's mysterious old house for the first time, however, he discovers that, in childhood, his father and a friend named Shari had been magically transported into a copy of The Arabian Nights, aided by a pair of animated pirate bookends. There, Shari, who had recently lost her parents, took on the role of Shaharazad and refused to return, leaving his father guilt-stricken. Now Yeats, again aided by the pirates—he "was certain, bookends or no, they were capable of handling themselves in a fight"—must enter that magical world and convince Shari both of who she really is and of the importance of returning to the outside world. Somewhat reminiscent of Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Ward's (the Grassland Trilogy) tale should be appreciated by preteens for whom Disney's Aladdin has already served as a gateway to The Arabian Nights. Ages 8–12. (May)
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
The Arabian Nights, time travel across generations, pirate humor, and metafictional elements drive the competing tensions in this middle grade adventure. Having wished themselves years ago into an unexpurgated translation of the Thousand and One Nights, William Trafford and his friend Shari become separated. Shari remains in the book until twenty years later when William's son Yeats assumes the task of restoring her to the real world and in the process assuaging his father's anguish. In doing so he has to make his way through the unfamiliar and often dangerous world of the book in which Shari is trapped. He must search for Shaharazad the storyteller, whom Shari believes she is. The portal into this world through the sea of words adds an interesting touch of whimsy. Humorous relief, complete with insults, is provided in the elegant device of the bookend pirates, named Skin and Bones. The adults' actions provide forward momentum, but in all the young characters feel more genuine than the grownups, whose angst never quite convinces. The setting of the book plays into Orientalist stereotypes, in which humor depends on an Indiana Jones-like setup of the "other" as caricature. The pace is quick and the deft, self-reflexive narrative is reminiscent of other books about books, e.g., The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley and Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. Between Two Ends does not measure up to either in complexity or depth, contenting itself with snappy dialogue, a twisting plot, and kidnapping as a rescue device. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
Kirkus Reviews

A book about a book within a book. Years ago William and Shari wished themselves into a book, the unabridged version of 1,001 Arabian Nights, and although William wished himself back, he is consumed with guilt because Shari stayed, as the character Shaharazad. Twenty years later, William's anguish has brought his family to the brink of dissolving. In a last-ditch attempt to hold it all together, they visit his boyhood home, the scene of the mysterious events. His son Yeats becomes the vessel for restoring Shari to the real world. It all involves wishes, magic bookends, pirates, danger, intrigue and imagination. Yeats is very much the hero of the piece, absorbing and responding to every impossible, fantastic occurrence with ingenuity and spirit. Ward presents just enough of an outline of the traditional Arabian Nights frame story to set the stage for modern readers, while creating his own fantasy within the fantasy to grab their attention. But there is a lack of consistency in the framework of his fantasy world, especially in its treatment of time. The supporting characters are not all fully developed, especially Shari, who, although she is the focus of the whole endeavor, remains insubstantial. The conclusion allows little time for emotional denouement and strongly hints at a possible sequel. A fast-paced but flawed adventure. (Fantasy. 10-12)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810997141
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David Ward was born in Montreal and grew up in Vancouver. He was an elementary school teacher for eleven years before completing his master's degree. He is the author of the Grassland trilogy and is a writer and university instructor in children's literature. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and their three children.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Adventure, Humor and Great Story-Telling

    Yeats Trafford, age 12, visits his grandmother, who lives in a creepy house which has more than the usual creeks and moans. The garden seems able to sense Yeats presence, especially near the old wishing well. From that weird experience, Yeats uncovers an old pirate bookend that was "kicked out" of the library 20 years earlier. Yeats cleans the old guy and takes him to gran's library, reuniting him with his matching bookend. From there, a strange yet believable world opens up to Yeats. He has heard the story of his father's own journey with the pirate bookends and is determined to make the same trip. Yeat's wants to finish his father's journey hoping it will keep his parents together. Yeats must bring home the girl left behind 20 years ago when she and Yeat's father went on their own journey. Where does Yeats and the pirate bookends (named Skin and Bones), journey? Into the pages of The Arabian Nights.

    Yeats must find a way to bring Shari, Shaharazad in the story, home without actually rescuing her. Shari/Shaharazad must want to return on her own before the spell she is under will break - a spell only Shaharazad remembering another reality can break. Yeats cannot force her to return. Yeat's father could not get Shari, now living as Shaharazad, to return. She has been inside the story for 20 years. Yeats has an impossible task before him. Funny guys Skin and Bones refuse to help. Maybe it's of a pirate's code (of dishonor)? Skin and Bones transport Yeats, leaving him on his own, inside the shore of The Arabian Nights

    I really liked this story. It was difficult to put the book down. There is adventure, romance, harrowing action and lots of humor, especially from Skin and Bones. Shari has been in the story as Shaharazad, the king's storyteller and the one person who can get the king to sleep. Shaharazad might be telling the king boring stories, but in Between Two Ends, not one boring word can be found. The author, David Ward, does a masterful job creating the world of The Arabian Nights, capturing the lost souls, the resident's desperation, and the danger Yeats encounters, brilliantly.

    The "original" Arabian Nights, known in the US as A Thousand-and- One Arabian Nights, has more than 1000 pages in some older versions. A currently available version has 912 pages. David Ward's Between Two Ends could easily be part of an Arabian Nights tale for the twenty-first century. Plus, with less than 300 pages, it is a faster read.

    Note: received from netgalley, courtesy of the publisher.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    Wonderful Adventure

    The idea of being lost in a story is familiar to almost any avid reader. It's a reason many of us read. To escape the world and become part of a new one. This is what happens to young Yeats in Between Two Ends. He goes into a story to rescue someone who has become lost in the book. Literally.

    I loved this book! There was a beautiful mix of poetry and drama. Of course, what would you expect of a book with the main character named for a famous poet. It was a quick read, but it never felt rushed. Things moved at a steady pace until the end. There was a wonderful absurdity to the dialogue. The author painted such a vivid picture that it was easy for me to become lost in the worlds of this book. Both of them. You can almost hear some Rimsky-Korsakov in your head as events in Shererazade's world unfold.

    I've always loved the story of Scheherazade. I almost wish we could have seen a bit more of what it was like to live the part. However, I can see how it wasn't relevant to the plot at hand. I would highly recommend this book to children and adults. It's a fun read, and it left me wanting more adventures with Yeats and his crew.

    Galley for review provided by publisher

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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