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Green Boy

Green Boy

4.0 2
by Susan Cooper

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Long Pond Cay, in the Bahamas, is a magical white-sand island, and 12-year-old Trey and silent seven-year-old Lou love to visit its loneliness. But one day the magic becomes a nightmare, and suddenly they are in another world, strident, polluted, and overcrowded -- where little Lou is hailed not as a mute Bahamian boy but as the mythic hero Lugh, born to bring


Long Pond Cay, in the Bahamas, is a magical white-sand island, and 12-year-old Trey and silent seven-year-old Lou love to visit its loneliness. But one day the magic becomes a nightmare, and suddenly they are in another world, strident, polluted, and overcrowded -- where little Lou is hailed not as a mute Bahamian boy but as the mythic hero Lugh, born to bring terrible destruction and renewal. Carried between worlds in a zigzag adventure of mounting tension and danger, the children risk their lives not only to save the alien world, but to ward off a new, parallel threat to their beloved Long Pond Cay. The forces of myth and nature explode together in an amazing climax.

This riveting and startlingly original fantasy is Newbery Award-winning author Susan Cooper's eleventh novel for children. Green Boy evokes the lyrical beauty of the outer Bahamian islands with a disturbing vision of a spoiled world ominously like our own.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Twelve year old Trey and his younger brother Lou live in the Bahamas with their grandparents. Lou does not speak. The doctors can find no physical reason for his lack of speech. Their mother must work in Nassau. While Trey and Lou miss her, they enjoy life on their quiet island. On days when there is no school, the boys take their dinghy to their special place Long Pond Cay. Soon they discover that developers are planning to build hotels, condos, and a casino there. Grand and his friends are fighting the development, but the government has issued permits so there seems to be no way to stop the development. One day on the island, Trey and Lou notice the air shimmering and then find themselves in a strange barren world overcrowded with buildings and pollution. The people they meet call this place Pangaia and seem to believe that Lou can save their world. Travelling back and forth between the two worlds, Trey realizes that change is possible, both in the future of both worlds and for his brother. Cooper's cautionary tale reminds readers of the importance of preserving the environment. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
The Barnes & Noble Review
The Newbery Award–winning author of the series The Dark Is Rising brings young readers another adventure fantasy, an encouraging study of the unassuming power children have to change their worlds.

Twelve-year-old Trey and his little brother, Lou, a mute seven-year-old, live a simple, happy life with their grandparents on the fictitious Bahamian island of Lucaya. They have the run of the sea in the boat their grandfather gave them and spend most of their time on Long Pond Cay Island. There, they picnic under the casuarina trees, store favorite rocks and fossils in their secret cave, are friends with the local osprey, and marvel at the unspoiled beauty of their playground. Their world seems idyllic, until a foreign corporation suddenly threatens to "develop" Long Pond Cay into a tourist resort. Then something even more unexpected happens: Between tides on Long Pond Cay one day, the two enter the mysterious "Otherworld" -- Pangaia, a frighteningly overcrowded city-world where the natural environment has been destroyed and where Lou is not merely a mute little boy but the prophesied hero Lugh, born to replenish the world with trees. The boys shuttle back and forth between worlds, amid dangers they've never before known, in order to save Pangaia, their future, and Long Pond Cay, their present. But is Lou/Lugh's power strong enough to prevail, before Long Pond Cay is gone forever?

In Green Boy, Susan Cooper not only tells an action-packed story of personal survival and family loyalty but also presents a powerful social argument for young readers to ponder: What's more important, an unspoiled natural environment or corporate development? In addition, readers will love the sweetness and strength of Trey and Lou, Trey's protectiveness of his little brother, and their obvious affection for each other. (Michele D. Thomas)

Publishers Weekly
Set in the fictitious Bahamanian island of Lucaya, Cooper's (The Dark Is Rising) latest fantasy begins with restful images of whistling ducks, bonefish and casuarina trees, but soon quickens its pace as two worlds collide for 12-year-old Trey and his "strange and special" younger brother. Although seven-year-old Lou is mute, he finds ways to communicate in his own world and in the "Otherworld" of Pangaia (referencing Gaia, also known as the earth goddess). At home, in their world, Lou and Trey's granddad wages a battle against developers who wish to create a resort on their unspoiled island. Meanwhile, in the Otherworld, Lou is the prophesied hero who solves a riddle and then transforms into a giant Green Man flowing with vegetation and rids it of its pollution. The message is clear: Pangaia portends the earth's future. In each setting, the narrative gives way to moments of preachiness or melodrama about protecting our environment; at the island meetings, for instance, winter residents, or "yachties," become contrite about their past sins and the "greenies" in Pangaia are labeled "terrorists" by the government officials. A subplot involving the boys' father wraps up a bit quickly and, in a somewhat contrived scenario, the idyllic Bahamian island is spared from development. As the story unfolds, however, young readers are likely to be pulled in by the sensitive portrayals of Trey and Lou, the mysterious adventures in Pangaia and the whirlwind climax. Ages 9-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Trey is twelve and lives on a small island in the Bahamas. He and his little brother are inseparable even though Lou is seven and has never spoken a word. When developers plan to build a massive resort on Long Pond Cay, the two brothers fear it will be the end of their island. On a visit to the secluded cay one day, a strange thing happens; the two boys find themselves in a different world. This new world is not like home. It is polluted and overpopulated. The government controls everyone and everything. Genetic engineering has made mutants out of what little wildlife is left. The strangest thing of all to Trey is that Lou is hailed as mythic hero to the Underground, the group of people trying to change the nightmarish world. Lou doesn't seem to be surprised with this role, making it even harder for Trey to keep him safe. The two boys must travel back and forth between these two worlds and try to find a way to save both of them before it is too late. This is a beautifully crafted story. Although the plot sounds complex, it is easy to follow and never lags. It is recommended to readers between 9-12, but older readers would find this book interesting as well. It makes a powerful statement against the way we treat our world and could lead to some wonderful discussions afterwards. 2002, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $16.00. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Heather Robertson
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-While playing on pristine Long Pond Cay near their home in the Bahamas, 12-year-old Trey and 7-year-old Lou are transported to a nightmarish world that has almost been destroyed by pollution and overbuilding. The siblings make several visits to this Otherworld, where underground rebels take them under their wing, realizing that mute and mysterious Lou is the prophesied catalyst in the Greenwar they are waging. Meanwhile, in their own world, the children's grandparents are fighting a losing battle against developers who want to put a resort on Long Pond Cay. Trey, whose gender is never clearly stated, narrates this environmental fantasy in a sensible, likable voice, and there is enough tension and adventure in both worlds to keep the pages turning. Like Trey, readers might not understand why and how the siblings travel between the worlds and are so crucial to the future of the Otherworld. Compared to the compelling scenes that take place in the Bahamas, the Otherworld episodes feel forced and illogical-why must Lou find fossilized star shells in his own world in order to open a passageway in the Otherworld? That the Otherworld is a warning about the possible fate of Earth is clear, but whether it is a view of the mythic past, our future, or simply a different world is uncertain. These are issues that readers may enjoy pondering, but this is ultimately an unsatisfying tale.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An environmental message overwhelms the plot in this disappointing time-travel story. Twelve-year-old narrator Trey lives in the Bahamas with his grandparents and seven-year-old brother Lou, who has undiagnosed seizures and never talks. When the brothers' favorite island spot, Long Pond Cay, is slated to become a major resort, their grandfather protests with no success against the developers, who retaliate by secretly destroying his boats. Intensifying the evil of the developers' side of the issue, Trey's negligent father appears as a worker for the developer and threatens to take Trey from his grandparents. In the midst of these disputes, Trey and Lou are mysteriously transported to a city in the future, an environmental horror with no stars, fresh air, or open land. During several trips through time, Lou plays a key part in the future world's survival, in a strange meeting with Gaia, Mother Earth herself, and an even stranger scene in which Lou takes on a mythological role. While Cooper (King of Shadows, 1999, etc.) writes movingly about the beauty of the Bahamas and earnestly about her concerns for the future, she misses the mark here as a storyteller. The present and future worlds aren't meaningfully connected nor do the Celtic mythological references fit the surroundings. The issue of the resort is all too easily resolved; the narrator veers into an adult voice in places; and Lou comes across not as a credible seven-year-old but as a literary device. (Fiction. 9-12)
The New York Times Book Review
"An intriguing and truly lovely book."
The Horn Book
"Cooper...hints at her virtuoso ability to deepen everyday occurrence into resonant mythic narrative."
"The lyrical nature writing evokes the fragility and the power of a spider's silk, the miracle of a seashell, the physical connections of the wind, water, and sand."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Real moments of near-tangible peace."
From the Publisher
"Readers are likely to be pulled in by the sensitive portrayals of Trey and Lous, the mysterious adventures in Pangaia and the whilrwind climax."

“Cooper … writes movingly about the beauty of the Bahamas."

"An intriguing and truly lovely book."

"Cooper...hints at her virtuoso ability to deepen everyday occurrence into resonant mythic narrative."

"The lyrical nature writing evokes the fragility and the power of a spider's silk, the miracle of a seashell, the physical connections of the wind, water, and sand."

"Real moments of near-tangible peace."

Product Details

Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
930L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It was a little fluttering sound in the roof, moving. The living room of Grand's house reaches up high, with beams across it, and one side open to the porch. Along the top beam the little sound ran, very soft, you could scarce hear it. Then at the wall it turned, and came fluttering down a side beam. You could begin to see a shape now. So small: was it a moth? A spider?

Lou was watching. He moved toward it.

"Careful," I said. "Don't touch. Might be poisonous."

The little fluttering thing slid down to the floor and rested there. I saw a tiny foot. It was a bird.

Lou crouched down beside it and put out his hand. Somehow he knew how to rest his finger behind the bird's feet so it stepped onto his hand. Then you could see clear: it was a tiny hummingbird, and it was all wound around with sticky spider-silk, so that it couldn't fly, nor hardly walk. It must have blundered into a powerful big spider's web. Now it was all trussed up, terrified, there on the palm of Lou's hand.

Lou made a little comforting sound at the back of his throat. Slowly and very carefully, with his other hand, he pulled the fine sticky strands away from the bird's legs and wings. His fingers were so small and gentle; after all, he's only seven years old. The bird didn't move.

There it stood on his palm, bright green, an emerald hummingbird. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Its throat was red, and its feathers all different shades of green, gleaming. The spider-silk was all gone now, but still the bird didn't move. It must have been totally exhausted.

Lou gazed and gazed at the bird, and the bird looked back at Lou.

"Take it outside," I whispered. We moved out of the room, across the porch, to the hibiscus hedge, all starred with yellow-centered red flowers like trumpets. Hummingbirds love hibiscus. But the tiny bird still rested there on Lou's hand, not moving; as though it was giving Lou a present, staying so that he could look.

It was so beautiful, I can't tell you.

At last it flew, and hovered beside a flower, and darted away.

"Oh man," I said. I couldn't think of anything else to say, it was so amazing.

Lou smiled at me, and made his happy sound, that's as close as he can get to a laugh.

My brother Lou doesn't talk, and he has a few other problems too. He's different. But I'm used to it. My name is Trey, and I'm a writer, I look after him. I'm twelve years old. This is my book, the story of what happened to Lou and me.

Copyright © 2002 by Susan Copper

Meet the Author

Susan Cooper is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. Her classic five-book fantasy sequence The Dark Is Rising won the Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor and has sold millions of copies worldwide. She is also the author of Victory, a Booklist Top Ten Historical Fiction for Youth book and a Washington Post Top Ten for Children novel; King of Shadows, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor book; The Boggart; Seaward; Ghost Hawk; and many other acclaimed novels for young readers and listeners. She lives in Massachusetts, and you can visit her online at TheLostLand.com.

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Green Boy 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So far this is an amazing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an okay book. When I started reading it it was fine but once you got more into the book it got more confusing since they time travel. It was hard to tell when they time traveled so a little confusing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Green Boy is a story of a family living on Long Pond Cay in the Bahamas. Trey and his silent brother Lou are the two main characters of the book, and they love to fish and play on the beaches of the island. However, when the government wants to turn long Pond Cay into an island resort the boys and their family are terrified. One day when the boys are playing on the island, they are transported to this magical place where they see the effects of pollution and overpopulation. Lou is considered a hero because he can listen to what the talking tree can say. Lou saves the underworld from corruption and Long Pond Cay is hit by a devastating hurricane and the government decides to withdraw the proposed resort and Long Pond Cay is saved forever. I think the story is well written, however some parts get confusing when Lou and Trey are in the underworld. For a long time the underworld is unexplained which leaves the reader confused for the majority of the story. However, Susan Cooper does a great job of stimulating the imagination of the reader. I graded the book with 3 stars because I feel it is just that; okay, but not great.