Clay Marble

Clay Marble

4.5 11
by Minfong Ho
     
 

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Fleeing war-torn Cambodia in 1980, Dara, her mother, and her older brother find sanctuary in a refugee settlement on the Thailand border, but when fighting erupts, Dara finds herself separated from everyone and everything she loves.See more details below

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Overview

Fleeing war-torn Cambodia in 1980, Dara, her mother, and her older brother find sanctuary in a refugee settlement on the Thailand border, but when fighting erupts, Dara finds herself separated from everyone and everything she loves.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dara's is one of the thousands of Cambodian families separated or destroyed by war, but there is hope as she and her brother and mother head for a refugee camp on the Thailand border. Once safely there, Dara makes friends with Jantu, who has an almost magical touch in creating toys from mud and scraps of fabric. When the camp is bombed, Jantu makes a magic marble out of clay that helps Dara track down her family and then return to the hospital for Jantu and her brother. Like clay dolls themselves, Ho's ( Rice Without Rain ) characters seem to walk through their parts--their emotional turmoil, rather than being revealed, is simply stated. Despite a potentially compelling story and setting, this novel never comes to life. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-- After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, 12-year-old Dara, her older brother Sarun, and their mother journey to the Thai border in search of food. Here they meet the remnants of another Cambodian family, one of whose members, Jantu, becomes Dara's friend; another, Nea, falls in love with Sarun. Life is going along well until infighting among neighboring guerrilla groups forces the families to flee again. In the confusion, Dara and Jantu become separated from the main group. After many incidents, they are reunited with their families, although Jantu is shot in the process and dies soon after. Sarun, once a proud farmer, wants to join the military. Dara courageously stands up to him, and convinces him to return home with the family. The title comes from Jantu's effervescence and manual dexterity, the combination of which impresses Dara as magic. She believes a clay marble, having been invested with Jantu's magic, gives her the courage to get through her ordeals. Dara and Jantu are well drawn, but the rest of the characters are not much more than pasteboard figures. Ho excels at tropical description, evoking climate and flaura with skill. The contrasts of frantic activity and enervating inaction of refugee life are also vividly depicted. However, Dara's vocabulary when she thinks to herself does not ring true for her age; few 12-year-olds would consciously characterize themselves as ``irritable'' or others as ``glib''--certainly not illiterate 12-year-olds from rural areas. Older children might find this novel of interest for its historical milieu or slice-of-life realism, albeit from a different reality. --John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780785722250
Publisher:
Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
Publication date:
09/28/1993
Pages:
163
Product dimensions:
5.26(w) x 7.72(h) x 0.64(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

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