Friday, August 30, 2013

Wild Boy by Mary Losure

Wild Boy.  The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron by Mary Losure.  Illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering

In 1797, villagers from the south of France found a Wild Boy in the woods.  He was captured in 1798 and brought to the village square where he was tied up for all to see.  He escaped and was later recaptured again.

The Wild Boy couldn't talk, he was naked and had a long scar across his neck as if someone had tried to kill him and did not succeed.  He was around ten when was taken away from the woods and the nature he loved and put in a home where he could be studied by scientists.  Eventually he was sent to Paris where scientists would try to civilize him with an education and teach him to speak.

The story of Wild Boy is fascinating.  I've never heard of children surviving in the wild like this before.  Losure is a great researcher and she does a great job explaining the journey of this boy who is later called Victor.  This is Losure second book of narrative non-fiction and it reads much like a novel.  It is a fast read packed full of historical information.

Wild Boy is a beautifully crafted book.  The end pages are maps of France that outline the journey of the Wild Boy.  Each chapter begins with a quote from various sources that published information about the boy who was called the Savage of Aveyron.  Illustrator, Ering has created beautiful illustrations in black and white charcoal to enhance the story.

"To speak of the Wild Boy of Aveyon is to revive a name which no longer arouses any kind of interest; it is to recall a creature forgotten by those who merely saw him and disdained by those who have thought to pass judgement on him."  Pg. 126  Quote by Dr. Itard.  Dr. Itard is the man who thought he could teach the Wild Boy to speak and who later wrote a book about him.

Losure has crafted a version of the story that will pull at your emotions as you begin to fall in love with the Wild Boy of Aveyron.