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Publishers Weekly Review
Boyce follows Cosmic with a tight, powerful story-brimming with humor, mystery, and pathos-about illegal immigration and the price it exacts on children. Two Mongolian brothers, Chingis and Nergui, arrive at a British school wearing fur coats and refusing to follow the teacher's instructions that Nergui remove his hat that's low on his face: "When you need your eagle to be calm," Chingis says, "you cover its eyes with a hood. When you want the eagle to fly and kill, you take off the hood." The class is enthralled, and when Chingis singles our sixth-year Julie to be their "Good Guide," things that had previously fascinated her (makeup, boys) fall away as she bones up on Genghis Khan and helps the boys learn Liverpudlian slang and the rules of football-"learning themselves ordinary," she terms it. They tell her they are hiding from a demon, punctuating their tall tales with Polaroids, taken by Hunter and Heney (Boyce's filmmaker collaborators), which deepen the mystery. In an author's note Boyce explains his inspiration, making an already moving story even more so. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 5-7-Immigration stories are often about new encounters in a strange land, where immigrants are helped by new friends. Frank Cottrell Boyce's modern immigration tale (Candlewick, 2011) changes the formula. Julie, a sixth grader and a life-long resident of Liverpool, becomes infatuated with two new students-Chingis Khan and his younger brother-who have emigrated from Mongolia. Julie becomes the "good guide" for the brothers, helping them navigate through their new world, language, and customs. In the process, she learns not only about their homeland but also about her friends and teachers while gaining a new appreciation for her own home. This immigration story shows how two outsiders can remind you of how special home is and how complicated immigration can be for families. Sarah Coomes does an excellent job of narrating, The story has some funny moments and some sad ones. In the afterword, Boyce shares how he created the story and what inspired him to write it. A great choice for libraries serving new immigrant populations.-Katie Llera, Milltown Public Library, Milltown, NJ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
With both humor and sorrow, this chapter book tells a contemporary refugee story in which illegal immigrants help a local kid find a sense of belonging. When Mongolian Chingis and his younger brother, Nergui, turn up in Julie's sixth-grade class in Bootle, near Liverpool, they ask her to be their guide i. learning themselves ordinary. They ask about the rules of football and the right buzzwords, and Chingis tells Julie about the exotic wonders of Genghis Khan's Xanadu and shows her, and the reader, amazing Polaroids of nomads in the desert. In her first-person narrative, Julie describes the moving friendship, and even while the brothers hide from authorities, they help Julie learn to see the strange and wonderful in her own home, especially after she discovers that thei. exoti. pictures were taken right where she lives, in the nearby fields and alleyways. Inspired by the many photo images throughout the story, readers will see the riches in the smallest details even schoolyard trash cans.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Treading water in her last term of elementary school, Julie figures she's learned all there is to learn, when two Mongolian brothers in fur-lined coats (it's summer) arrive: Chingis and Nergui.Chingis explains to their teacher that little Nergui's hat must stay on, like a hunting eagle's hood. Such casual references to wonders far from their Liverpool suburb, documented in the text with eerie Polaroid snapshots, enthrall the children, especially Julie. She's elated when Chingis appoints her the brothers' "good guide." Despite her title, Julie can't discover where they live; street-smart Chingis foils her attempts to follow them, taking a different route each day. Thwarted curiosity prompts her to research Mongolia online, succumbing to the mystery and fascination of far-off places and people. As her persistence pays off, she awakens to the fear the brothers carry. Funny, sad, haunting and original, Cottrell Boyce's story leaves important elements unexpressed. As with lace, these holes are part of the design, echoed in the unadorned photos: a path through a dark forest; wagon tracks across a field that meet the lowering sky; shadows on a yurt wall. To complete the narrative, readers must actively participate. They'll find myriad paths to followimmigration, demons, social networking, the mystery of cultural difference and the nature of enchantment.A tricky, magical delight. (author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.