Between Two Ends

Between Two Ends

5.0 2
by David Ward
     
 

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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

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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:
05/01/2011
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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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