The Boy and the Samurai

The Boy and the Samurai

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by Erik Christian Haugaard, George Guidall, Alex Kalajzic
     
 

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On his own in the teeming city, orphaned Saru learns to survive. He begs, steals, and fights for what he needs. He finds danger in bandits and street gangs, charity in tentative friendships with a priest and a cook’s young daughter, and comfort from his little cat, Neko. But Saru trusts no one, until he meets a samurai and agrees to help in the rescue of his

Overview

On his own in the teeming city, orphaned Saru learns to survive. He begs, steals, and fights for what he needs. He finds danger in bandits and street gangs, charity in tentative friendships with a priest and a cook’s young daughter, and comfort from his little cat, Neko. But Saru trusts no one, until he meets a samurai and agrees to help in the rescue of his wife, held hostage in the castle. How can a street urchin and a lone warrior prevail

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Saru (``monkey'') lives by begging in feudal Japan. Orphaned and abandoned, Saru watches the constant battling of the warlords and their hired samurai with disgust. He recalls his adventures as a street urchin--he runs afoul of a band of thieves, then sees them massacred; he spends the winter alone living under the shrine of a minor deity, and makes a true friend in Priest Jogen. It is with Jogen that Saru has his greatest adventure. Despite his prejudice against samurai, the boy concocts a plot to rescue the imprisoned wife of the samurai Murakami. Offering a vivid look at an unusual place and time, Haugaard ( The Samurai's Tale ) has created a character that will linger in the reader's memory. Saru's story is drawn with a verisimilitude that overcomes a potentially alien setting, and makes his reminiscences immediate and sympathetic. Ages 10-14. (Mar.)
Children's Literature
Saru is a street urchin in Japan, as his father was killed in battle and his mother is dead from childbirth. He lives in the back of a shrine with a stray cat for warmth and friendship. In a time of poverty and greed, when the shoguns come and go depending on who wins the bloody fights, when gangs and thieves are prevalent, and the Samurai are arrogant and ruthless, Saru is a kind and caring boy. A priest, on his own quiet path to Buddha, admires this quality and takes Saru in. The Samurai defend the shoguns, but when their warlord falls, they are without work and become thieves themselves. One Samurai, however, is undemanding and gentle. Saru and the priest help him rescue his wife from the ruling shogun's castle and escape to a small village by the sea. Ten to twelve-year-old boys will identify with the character, who avoids membership in a gang of thieves, helps an innkeeper ambush the robbers, hides from the ones who escaped, and saves a damsel in distress. In the end, it is not always best to be rich and powerful, but better to be humble and unassuming. "There is not one, but many roads to Buddha." Each person must find his own way. 2000 (orig. 1991), Houghton Mifflin, $16.00 and $6.95. Ages 11 to 14. Reviewer: Janet L. Rose
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-- In feudal Japan, orphan Saru lives by his wits in a city still threatened by the conflict of rival warlords. He spends winter nights under a little-used shrine, with only a stray cat for warmth; eventually, he makes a few friends who change his life. Saru is likable, the other characters interesting, and the story often moving--the little cat is an excellent touch--but this book does not deliver. The plot moves slowly, with repetition of philosophical ideas and devices. The promised Samurai of the title shows up two thirds into the story, while other apparently major characters are set up, and then do not play large roles. The viewpoint is that of the adult looking back, and is sometimes overly mature. While Saru's insights into the plight of women in his society are laudable, they are also anachronistic. The preface is slow-moving and remote, and may alienate readers. The setting, however, is beautifully realized. Haugaard subtly conveys the foolishness of the feuding warlords, and how their behavior affects the common people; he is realistic about poverty without dwelling too much on the lurid details. The philosophy of the Samurai is introduced easily, as are the beliefs of Buddhism. The language unselfconsciously evokes the patterns of Japanese speech. Fantasy readers, primed to enjoy other cultures, may like this, as may those who have enjoyed the works of Katherine Paterson set in Japan, and Lensey Namioka's tales. --Annette Curtis Klause, Montgomery County Department of Public Libraries, MD

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781556907807
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
02/01/2002
Edition description:
Unabridged
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Erik Haugaard was born in Denmark and has traveled extensively in the United States, Italy, Spain, and Japan. Called "a writer gifted in the art of the storyteller" by the BOSTON GLOBE, he is internationally known for his accomplishments as a playwright, poet, and translator. He has won critical acclaim for his books for young readers, including A BOY'S WILL, THE UNTOLD TALE, and CROMWELL'S BOY.

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The Boy and the Samurai 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book, beacuse it makes you feal as though you were living in its time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very well written book. Those who love the culture of japan, will enjoy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a great story about a young boy in feudal Japan. Throughout the story, many facts about life during this time are conveyed to the reader. At the same time, a boy without parents and with seemingly no significance in the world, finds out what true frienship is as he puts his life on the line for a renegade samurai. With the help of a Buddhist pries he also learns about what is really important in life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best books I've ever read.You learn about the Japanese culture and you feel like your the main character.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book, Erik Christian Haugaard is an excellent author.