Street Child

Street Child

4.7 3
by Berlie Doherty
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

A fictional account of the experiences of Jim Jarvis, a young orphan who escapes the workhouse in 1860's London and survives brutal treatment and desperate circumstances until he is taken in by Dr. Barnardo, founder of a school for the city's "ragged" children.

Overview

A fictional account of the experiences of Jim Jarvis, a young orphan who escapes the workhouse in 1860's London and survives brutal treatment and desperate circumstances until he is taken in by Dr. Barnardo, founder of a school for the city's "ragged" children.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Homelessness is the central topic of this grim and gripping novel set in Victorian England. Doherty (Dear Nobody) builds her plot around the few facts known about Jim Jarvis, the London urchin who is said to have inspired Thomas Barnardo to establish his homes for destitute boys, the first such asylums in Britain. No longer able to afford the rent on the squalid tenement room they call home, Jim, his sisters and his sick, widowed mother are turned out into the inhospitable streets of London. The next way-station on Jim's downward spiral is the workhouse. There Jim's mother's dies, and Jim seems destined to become like the other inmates, broken-spirited paupers who answer to pious-speaking sadists. After much hardship, Jim escapes, and spends what prove to be his happiest days on the street. His idyll ends when, for a single coin, he is sold into servitude to the cruel drunkard Grimy Nick, captain of a small coal ferry. Until his lucky encounter with Barnardo, every adult Jim meets is either kindly but powerless or greedy and heartless; his only friends are other street children, and even they are not entirely to be trusted. With its sootily authentic atmosphere and its earnest reformist message, this tale calls to mind the ambience of Charles Dickens's novels. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Set in Victorian England, this story of life on the streets has enough action to keep children reading. The book opens with Jim's desperately poor, fatherless family being evicted; within a day his sisters are in domestic service, his mother is dead, and Jim is on his own. After a year in the workhouse, he escapes. Eating and sleeping where and when he can, he is more or less sold to a cruel taskmaster with a coal boat, who reacts to Jim's attempt to flee by tying a rope around his neck. Ever resourceful, the boy finally gets away and returns to the London slums where he finds a friend dying from hunger. Realizing that he must do something to avoid a similar fate, he seeks out a man who runs a school for poor children and finds a home. The novel is based on a real boy, Jim Jarvis, and the teacher who saved him was Dr. Bernardo, who, inspired by the boy's plight, went on to establish homes for destitute children. Doherty has written a Dickensian tale with compassion and insight while creating a likable hero with the courage, persistence, and instinct to survive in a harsh, inhospitable world. Several of the supporting characters are also based on real people and are finely drawn. With the number of homeless children today, this story has relevance to contemporary society as it shows not only the price paid when poor people are dismissed as unimportant, but also the strength of the human spirit and the difference that one committed, caring person can make.-Jane Gardner Connor, South Carolina State Library, Columbia

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780007311255
Publisher:
HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:
08/28/2009
Age Range:
12 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Street Child 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She sat around watching them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Guest More than 1 year ago
The writer really described the book well . Also made the book sound more interesting and want to read more of it. But I think that the price of the book is way to much.